Marking its first fall in quarterly sales in half a decade, LaCroix sparkling water maker National Beverage Corp. reported revenue of $220.9 million for the quarter concluding on Jan. 26. By contrast, the Florida-based company reported $300 million in the quarter finishing in July, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We are truly sorry for these results,” said National Beverage Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Nick A. Caporella, according to the paper. “Negligence nor mismanagement nor woeful acts of God were not the reasons – much of this was the result of injustice!” His comments come as a class-action lawsuit alleged that LaCroix contained synthetic ingredients.
Maxim Group Analyst Anthony Vendetti noted that the drop in sales was in part due to the suit’s negative publicity, even if the claims don’t have merit. The firm also faces competitors such as Bubly sparkling water from PepsiCo Inc, and Nestlé SA’s new Poland Spring sparkling water flavors. According to an analysis of Nielsen data by Wells Fargo, the retail sales of National Beverage fell by 7 percent, as Polar Corp. jumped by 17 percent and Nestlé rose by 11 percent.
The news comes after the company released a statement in January that said essences in its products were 100 percent natural, and certified as such by an independent laboratory and suppliers. The tests were said to be performed under American Society for Testing and Materials standards, and reportedly found no trace of synthetic or artificial additives, “further confirming supplier certifications,” according to the company. Caporella said at the time, “We pride ourselves in bringing only the healthiest, safest and most delicious ingredients to our consumers − all with zero calories, zero sugar and zero sodium.”