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Consumers returning to bottled water

August 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Despite campaigns by environmental groups, it appears that consumers are returning to bottled water. A recent statement by the International Bottled Water Association argues that public opinion has moved away from a desire to ban bottled water, with consumers instead opting to return in droves to a product they view as both “healthy and convenient”.

Following a 1.4% increase in bottled water sales in the UK in 2009 and the recent decision by Concord, in Massachusetts, to reverse its ban on the sale of bottled water, it appears that the industry is in the midst of a comeback.

The news will come as a blow to environmental campaigners, who have targeted single-use bottled water due to the level of non-recycled waste that the industry produces, with campaigners pointing to recent estimates that 90% of bottles are not recycled. With the 38 billion water bottles ending up in landfill sites throughout the world in 2006 contributing to potentially devastating environmental implications, consumers now seem to be prioritising convenience over climate concerns.

Jonny Forsyth, Senior Drinks Analyst at Mintel, a market intelligence group, suggests that “after years of not having to worry about the pennies, the first question consumers started asking when purchasing was ‘Is this value for money?'” He later stated: “However, with consumer confidence rising over recent months, consumers have started to loosen their purse strings and bottled water has been one of the beneficiaries.”

In spite of predictions of a terminal decline in the UK market after volume sales fell by 11% between 2006 and 2008, it appears that renewed consumer confidence has sparked a return to popularity for bottled water.

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