- National Beverage Corp. said in response to a new lawsuit last week that all LaCroix cans are produced without BPA liners as of April 2019.
- Cans produced prior to April that contain BPA-based liners may still remain on store shelves, however.
- “Our customers’ inventory stocking and rotational practices are varied,” the company told Business Insider, when asked whether all cans now available for purchase are without BPA.
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National Beverage Corp. revealed last week in response to a new lawsuit that all its LaCroix cans are now produced without the chemical Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.
This doesn’t mean all LaCroix cans available on store shelves are BPA-free – yet.
Here’s why: National Beverage said its production facilities switched to 100% BPA-free can liners in April. Some retailers and other distributors may still have LaCroix cans in stock that were produced prior to April and have BPA-based liners.
“Our customers’ inventory stocking and rotational practices are varied,” National Beverage told Business Insider, when asked whether all cans now available for purchase are without BPA. “However, we can confirm all LaCroix produced in our facilities are in cans without BPA liners.”
The company, which began converting to BPA-free liners two years ago, did not respond to questions regarding a timeline for completion.
The shift away from BPA has the potential to boost brand sentiment among consumers who pay close attention to the ingredients in their food and packaging.
But it probably won’t have any significant impact on sales, since many people don’t know what BPA is, Guggenheim Securities analyst Laurent Grandet told Business Insider.
BPA is a chemical used in the production of some plastics and aluminium containers, according to the FDA.
“In cans, BPA-based liners form a barrier between the food and the can surface that prevents corrosion of the can and migration of metal into the food,” the FDA states on its website. “People are exposed to low levels of BPA because very small amounts may migrate from the food packaging into foods or beverages.”
The FDA has said that BPA is safe to consume at those low levels. In recent years, some studies have raised concerns about the health effects of BPA and consumers are now paying more attention to its use.
“Some exploratory scientific studies have appeared in the public literature that have raised questions about the safety of ingesting the low levels of BPA that can migrate into food from food contact materials,” the FDA website states. “To address these questions the National Toxicology Program (NTP), partnering with FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research, has been carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about BPA.”
As awareness of BPA has grown, many companies have decided to voluntarily remove it from their packaging.
LaCroix faces stiff competition, but still wins with millennials, analyst says
LaCroix is under growing pressure from rising competition in the sparkling water category.
Sales of LaCroix declined 9.4% over a 12-week period ended in May, according to Nielsen data. The data also suggests LaCroix is losing customers to other sparkling-water brands, with its market share dropping to 23% from 28% in October.
But with the right innovations, LaCroix could return to growth, according to Grandet, the Guggenheim Securities analyst.
“The brand still resonates with millennials. It’s still a strong brand,” Grandet said, noting that until recently LaCroix enjoyed years of explosive growth.
“The major threat to their growth is really competition,” he said.
LaCroix is facing stiff competition from PepsiCo, Nestle, and Coca-Cola, as well as from private-label seltzers, such as Spindrift, he said.
He said LaCroix should experiment with premium packaging – such as glass bottles – for restaurants. He also said the company should consider replacing the filtered water in its recipe with spring water.
“The issue with sparkling flavored water is that everyone can do it,” Grandet said. “The [LaCroix] brand is still cool and appealing for consumers… but they need to find a point of differentiation that they don’t have right now.”
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