Bottled Water Market Share Volume Increased in 2008

April 01, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) today released 2008 bottled water statistics, compiled by BMC, a research, consulting, and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry (www.beveragemarketing.com).  These numbers show that overall consumption of bottled water as a percentage of the beverage category market share continues to rise even though U.S. bottled water consumption dropped by one percent in 2008. 

In 2008, total bottled water consumption was 8.6 billion gallons, a 1% decrease compared to 2007’s figure of 8.7 billion gallons.  Overall in 2008, the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category fell by 2%, the first consumption downturn ever recorded in the packaged beverage category. Carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks both fell by 3.1%, while packaged fruit beverages fell by 2.0%. The only significant growth in 2008 was seen in newly-launched flavored and vitamin-added bottled water, up 8.3%, and energy drinks, which saw 8.3% growth last year.

In 2008, bottled water sales earned a 28.9% market share of the packaged beverage industry, up from 2007’s volume figure of 28.6%. “During these tough economic times, consumers have trimmed discretionary spending,” said Tom Lauria, Vice President of Communications for IBWA, “but bottled water sales decreased less than all other major categories and subsequently we now enjoy a slightly improved market share as consumers chose bottled water over other packaged beverages.”

Lauria added:  “The faltering economy has packaged beverage sales down across the board.  Some industry watchers have also wondered how much, if any, increased activism on the alleged environmental impact of bottled water is a possible reason for the drop.  However, there has been a notable decrease in sales of nearly all packaged beverages including steep drops in many packaged beverage products that activists never discuss or protest. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence that this recession is taking its toll on all forms of consumer spending.  But there’s little if any measurable evidence that activists have had an impact upon bottled water sales.  Bottled water is well-established and popular with consumers who rely on its convenience, healthfulness and refreshing taste.”

Consumers should also know that bottled water safety and quality result from multiple layers of regulation and standards at the federal, state and industry levels.

Bottled water is a packaged food product that is comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is subject to stringent standards for safety, quality, production, labeling, and identity.  Along with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which are required of all foods, bottled water must comply with several other applicable regulations, including a Standard of Identity, Standards of Quality and additional, specific bottled water GMPs.  Being a packaged food product, bottled water is also bound by the full range of FDA protective measures designed to enforce product safety and protect consumers.  States can also regulate bottled water inspections, sampling, analyzing and approving bottled water sources, and testing laboratory certification.  As part of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, IBWA members voluntarily utilize the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) for a science-based approach to bottled water production and safety.  FDA recognizes HACCP as a key component of food safety and consumer protection.

“Consumers must also be made aware of the bottled water industry’s outstanding record of environmental stewardship, protection, and sustainability,” IBWA’s Lauria concluded.  “Bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. Although bottled water makes up only 1/3 of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA, the bottled water industry works hard on a number of fronts with recycling advocates, communities, and our beverage and food partners to increase recycling.  The bottled water industry is also at the forefront utilizing measures to reduce our environmental footprint such as LEEDS-designed facilities, dramatically light-weighted PET bottles and increased support for broader groundwater protection to preserve our natural resources.