Hint Water has inked a deal with one of the world’s largest food services companies, CEO Kara Goldin said Monday.
The partnership with Compass Foods, announced at an offsite event for Fast Company‘s Innovation Uncensored conference, would expand Hint Water’s footprint to schools and hospitals. Auburn University in Alabama–not exactly known for being a health-conscious state–is already setting an early example, with students buying 100 cases of the company’s naturally flavored unsweetened water in its first week of distribution on campus. “Conventional wisdom says this is not supposed to work in the South,” Goldin told Fast Company in a May feature. Hospitals are also stocking up on Hint’s products because the flavoring counteracts the metallic taste that some cancer patients experience with chemotherapy treatments.
Goldin, a mother of four and former Diet Coke guzzler who gulped through a 12-pack each day, created Hint Water in an attempt to wean her family off sugary and chemical-laden drinks. The nine-year-old company reaps $40 million in revenue through its numerous channels: subscriptions, internal orders from companies like Google and Facebook, and e-commerce.
Though Goldin faced a number of obstacles building up Hint Water, her perseverance helped establish it as a flavored-water giant.
“Everyone told me when I was starting this company that I had to hire a beverage guy from Coke or Pepsi or we would fail,” she said in a live chat with Fast Company last month. “That didn’t end up to be true. I also heard that no one would want an unsweetened flavored water. That didn’t end up being true. I also heard and believed that no one would want to buy cases of Hint Water from our site and have it delivered to their door. It turns out that that really is not true–people are looking for health and convenience and are more than happy to have those delivered direct to their door or office.”
Follow along with our live blog Monday and Tuesday for updates from the Innovation Uncensored conference in San Francisco.