Water Bottlers Move to Protect Sales
By Bernice Hurst, Managing
Partner, Fine Food Network
It’s beginning to look
as if consumer decisions to vote with their purses are to be contested
by companies whose sales of bottled water have fallen significantly in
The reasons for falling
sales have been well covered – tap water is cheaper, doesn’t have
to travel so far and doesn’t come in plastic bottles that take up space
in landfill sites. But three of the biggest companies supplying U.K. retailers
have joined forces to fight back.
According to a report
on foodanddrinkeurope.com, Danone Waters,
Highland Spring and Nestlé Waters have got together to form a Natural Hydration
Council. The article explained that the council is "designed to spread
the word on the economic and social value of their product, amidst continuing
pressures surrounding its alleged environmental impact." It plans
to "provide ‘authoritative’ information and advice for researchers,
government, industry and consumers."
Paolo Sangiorgi, managing director of Nestlé Waters UK, is quoted
as having said, "Not many people realize that natural bottled water
comes from fully sustainable sources and in recyclable packaging. We need
the council to undertake new research and communicate the facts to ensure
fully informed consumer choices."
Nick Krzyzaniak, managing director of Danone Waters
UK & Ireland, added that the council will provide consumers
"with an informed choice on the health and sustainability aspects of
naturally sourced water."
Consumer analyst Zenith
International predicts that sales of bottled water are still growing, however,
partly due to innovation and added value. As long as consumers believe
that the quality of bottled water is better than what gushes from their
taps, they will apparently continue to pay for it. It is this on which
the new council will focus. How to tailor arguments for consumers who are
more sensitive than usual to every penny they spend may present an additional
How much difference will industry marketing efforts make to bottled water
sales? Do you think the strength of bottled water as a product category
will fade, hold steady or grow?