Bottled Water’s Volatile Future

Articles
January 18, 2010

Bottled Water’s Volatile Future

Bottled Water’s Volatile Future

Bottled water started as a trend that seemed more like a status symbol than anything else; one of the most brilliantly marketed products in store which quickly grew to be one of the largest and fastest growing categories in the supermarket. Consumers can now buy waters imported from around the world in all shapes and sizes as well as water infused with vitamins, sugars, caffeine, bubbles, herbs and minerals that make this category seem vital to many - but this sentiment is quickly changing. Consumers found out that most brands were little more than municipal tap water that was purified or filtered. And then came the issue of the bottles’ sustainability.
 
Consumers purchase bottled water because of its portability as well as the ability to drink more water throughout the day; but The Lempert Report predicts the switch to reusable bottles filled with at home filtered tap water - with both the environment and saving money in mind - will take a strong hold in the coming months.  On the other hand, there is still a place for flavored or enhanced bottled water, as consumer demand and interest is high; consumers will continue to drink enhanced waters for their “perceived” benefits. 
 
What are retailers to do with the once healthy, trendy lifestyle choice now turned ‘eco-sin’ taking up in most stores one side of a full aisle? The Lempert Report suggests providing customers with a selection of reusable water bottles, but the big opportunity is in home water filtration systems which can retail for up to $1,000 and replacement filters that cost $50-100 every three months. Provide the units, refills AND installation services. 
 
Water, specifically safe drinking water, is often treated as something we feel entitled to and certainly take for granted. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) stats, 1.1 billion people do not have access to any source of drinking water, which includes water for cooking and personal hygiene. This as well as the issues of climate change and water shortages that threaten both individuals and large multinational corporations alike are making it to the top of the list as an issue that can no longer be avoided - consumers, governments and our individual consciences can not be pacified for much longer.