According to the lasted report issued by the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans bought more bottled water than soda in 2016. The remarkable market growth comes after numerous health studies presented the health hazards of sugary drinks, giving bottled water a clear market advantage.
Americans Are Drinking Significantly Less Soda and Pay a Steep Price for Bottled Water
In 2016, with a a steep price for bottled water, people bought 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water, a significant increase from the 11.8 billion gallons that were purchased a year before. A single person consumed approximately 39 gallons of bottled water and 38.5 gallons of soda last year, a distinct improvement compared to 2006 when the per capita soda intake measured around 50 gallons.
Given the steady increase in bottled water consumption, the Beverage Marketing Corporation(BMC) estimates that water will reach the 50-gallon threshold somewhere in the next decade. If the projections are true, soda manufacturers will experience a concerning drop in share value.
According to Beverage Digest, which predicted back in February that water consumption would exceed that of carbonated drinks, soda sales are still surpassing those of bottled water. This is mostly due to bulk sales, but the situation might change soon, as restaurants are also seeing a decrease in carbonated drinks demand.
The Rise of Bottled Water
Michael Bellas, the CEO of BMC, declared that the success of bottle water is unexpected. In 1970, when Perrier introduced the concept on the American market, few people in the industry were sure of the company’s success. Sodas were considered the future of bottled beverages, the marketplace seeming to have no room for plain water.
“Where once it would have been unimaginable to see Americans walking down the street carrying plastic bottles of water, or driving around with them in their car’s cup holders, now that’s the norm.”
The bottled water commercials featured during Super Bowl halftime are also a clear sign of the rise of bottled water. Instead of drawing attention to its soft carbonated drinks, PepsiCo decided to call attention to its latest brand, Lifewtr.
Coca Cola is still trying to market its signature carbonated drinks. The company is now focusing more on size, compromising profit over volume growth.
At the moment, the largest distributors of bottled water in America are Nestle, with its Pure Life brand, Coca-Cola with Dasani, and PepsiCo with Aquafina.
Will Bottled Water Become the New Soda?
Until recently, soda manufacturers relied on portability and affordability, the limited bottled water selection and its steep price convincing people to opt for flavored carbonated drinks instead. However, during the last years, the media was flooded by articles presenting the negative health effects of soda, opening up the market for bottled water.
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