Food Trends / Industry News / Industry Outlook / Trends

Bottled Water Sees Consumption Growth

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Jun 09, 2016

Americans are getting the message about water. As many consumers are becoming wary of artificial sweeteners, they are abandoning other drinks in favor of bottled water. So says the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, Va., in conjunction with the Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC), New York. The pair has released 2015 bottled water statistics that show Americans’ consumption of bottled water increased by 7.9 percent, and that bottled water sales are up 8.9 percent since the previous year.

The BMC indicates that bottled water is set to overtake carbonated soft drinks as America’s largest beverage category by volume by 2017, if not by the end of 2016.

"Consumer demand for bottled water looks likely to remain strong in the years ahead. Increases in per capita consumption indicate enthusiasm for a product that consumers regard as a healthful alternative to other beverages," explains Michael Bellas, BMC chairman and CEO. "Americans increased their annual consumption by more than 11 gallons, from 25.4 gallons per person in 2005 to 36.5 gallons a decade later. During the same period, per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks dropped by 12.4 gallons. Per capita consumption of other major beverage categories, like milk and fruit beverages, also fell."

Consumers are increasingly choosing healthy, convenient, zero-calorie bottled water, BMC reports, and indicates that by 2015, bottled water had achieved a new volume record – almost 3 billion gallons higher than it had in 2007. Soft drinks, by contrast, experienced their eleventh consecutive year of volume reductions in 2015, it says.

Sales of bottled water sales increased by 8.9 percent in 2015, and now total $14.2 billion (wholesale). In 2015, total U.S. bottled water consumption grew by 7.9 percent to 11.7 billion gallons, up from 10.87 billion gallons in 2014. In addition, per-capita consumption is up 7.1 percent in 2015, with every person in America drinking an average of 36.5 gallons of bottled water last year.

"There are many attributes that contribute to bottled water’s undeniable appeal to U.S. consumers," notes Chris Hogan, IBWA's vice president of communications. "Among them are bottled water’s healthfulness, convenience, reliability, and safety."