Americans are drinking more bottled water than any other packaged beverage, according to new data from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC). The results found that bottled water sales outpaced those of carbonated soft drinks in 2016, in terms of volume, for the first time in history.
Bottled water sales in 2016 rose by 10% year-on-year to $16bn (wholesale), while volumes were up 8.6% to 12.8 billion gallons. In addition, per-capita consumption was up 7.7% to 39.3 gallons of bottled water, while average intake of carbonated soft drinks slipped to about 38.5 gallons per person.
Michael Bellas, Chairman and CEO of BMC, noted: “With the exception of two relatively small declines in 2008 and 2009—when most beverage categories contracted—bottled water volume grew every year from 1977 to 2016. This period included 17 double-digit annual volume growth spurts. Since resuming growth in 2010, bottled water volume has consistently enlarged at solid single-digit percentage rates”.
A Harris Poll conducted for IBWA found 86% of people purchase bottled water. IBWA noted: “Bottled water’s versatility makes it suitable for consumption at any time of day and in just about any setting or situation. It doesn’t need to be kept cold (like soft drinks or juice) or warm (like conventional coffee or tea). And various packaging types, ranging from 3- and 5-gallon bottles used in homes and offices to single-serve containers sold at retail locations, facilitate a variety of uses”.
Both groups noted that the industry is also utilising a variety of measures to continue reducing its environmental impact, such as using recycled plastic and some are producing 100% recycled PET plastic bottled water containers. IBWA noted: “Bottled water’s environmental footprint is the lowest of any packaged beverage, according to a life cycle assessment conducted by Quantis”.