As an avid consumer of sparkling water, I can attest to the fact that brand loyalty is not often a consideration when making a purchase. And if you were to ask the brands within this increasingly crowded market, they might even admit that the fickle consumer is the typical one.
Consider the ups and downs of LaCroix, the fruity fizzy water brand that’s been around for decades but rocketed to popularity in recent years as soda fell out of favor with Millennials. LaCroix also, perhaps accidentally, increased their appeal with unique flavors and a retro logo. But if the highs were highs, then the lows must also, unfortunately, be low … and LaCroix is experiencing this first hand.
According to CNN Business, retail sales of seltzer doubled between 2013 and 2018, but LaCroix – who perhaps rode the wave most successfully – has since seen its stock drop 62 percent, and it appears that a series of lawsuits have helped to drag down the brand.
Last fall, a class action lawsuit alleging false advertising said that LaCroix, which claimed to be flavored with all natural ingredients, actually contained several synthetic compounds, including a chemical used to kill cockroaches. Meanwhile, a new allegation has surfaced, and it doesn’t paint the company’s leadership in a positive light.
Business Insider is reporting that a former LaCroix executive is putting the company – owned by National Beverage Corporation – and its CEO on blast. Albert Dejewski, former vice president of commercial development and engagement for LaCroix, has filed a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully terminated the day after he raised concerns over the company’s plan to announce its cans were BPA-free. At issue is Dejewski’s contention that the cans actually weren’t – not yet anyway – and that CEO Joseph Caporella was planning to go ahead with the announcement months prematurely to try to help combat the existing “publicity crisis.”
Dejewski claims the company was 4-6 months out from a BPA-free can and when he raised the issue with Caporella he was basically told to keep quiet. He was fired the next day.
Meanwhile, LaCroix's website suggests that its cans “are produced without BPA," a claim that, if you’re to believe the lawsuit, amounts to more false advertising.