A study by Harris Poll has found that 93% of Americans prefer bottled water over all other beverages. And, while this is not an unexpected or new trend, the fact that these same Americans want bottled water ‘available everywhere drinks are sold’ is proof that consumers have accepted bottled water as an alternative to other packaged beverages and no longer regard it as competing with the tap.
This is the interpretation of South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) Executive Director, Charlotte Metcalf, who welcomes the shift.
“SANBWA has always maintained that bottled water does not compete against tap water, but is a legitimate addition to the retailer’s shelf of packaged beverages because it improves the range of options available for consumers,” she said.
“In societies and communities where obesity is a major health risk, water is the best beverage choice and, if that water can’t reliably be found from a tap, it should be readily available as a packaged beverage.
“American consumers have taken this on board and, while there’s no similar research locally, anecdotal evidence is that South Africans, too, have bought into the idea that – if they are being offered other packaged beverages – they should have the option to choose water ahead of sugary carbonated and energy drinks, iced teas, flavoured milks, and so on.”
The results of the survey, which was commissioned the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) to better understand consumer behaviour and preferences when it comes to bottled water and reported in Beverage Daily, largely mirrors those obtained in the previous survey.
The publication stated that, in 2018, 72% of consumers said bottled water is among their most preferred non-alcoholic beverage, which was a 9% year-over-year (YOY) increase. It was reported the most preferred beverage, followed by coffee (61%) and soft drinks (59%). In fact, 99% of Americans drink some form of water regularly, whether it is bottled, tap, or filtered. But those who only or mostly drink bottled water (37%) were equal to those who drink bottled and tap water equally (37%). And consumers who drink only or mostly tap or filtered water fell to about 25% in 2018, a 10% YOY decrease.