As 2007 comes to a close, the bottled water industry has put up some astounding numbers. Per capita consumption has more than tripled since 1990, as bottled water holds 27.8% of the U.S. liquid refreshment market share. Bottled water sales exceeded 8.25 billion gal in 2006—a 9.5% increase over 2005—with sales of more than $10.8 billion, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp.
In a survey conducted this past May by Harris Interactive, the No. 1 beverage choice of consumers was bottled water. Of the 3,283 consumers surveyed, 58% selected bottled water as a healthy lifestyle beverage.
Despite recent setbacks by environmental activists, bad publicity and bottled water bans in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, the bottled water market continues to grow as Americans spend on average $1,400 per person per year on bottled water, according to a New York Times analysis.
In October 2007, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) held its 2007 convention and tabletop trade show in Las Vegas. The event was held in conjunction with PACK EXPO 2007 and drew more than 800 attendees.
elected IBWA Chairman Chris Saxman, Shenandoah Valley Water Co., officers and board members were installed for the 2007-2008 period. Twenty-two educational sessions were held, covering topics like safety, quality and regulations, plant and production processes, politics and government relationships, lab and analytical sciences and recycling and environmental issues.
The 2008 IBWA tradeshow will mark its 50th anniversary and will be held in conjunction with the American Beverage Association’s tradeshow, InterBev2008. The combined shows will be held at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Oct. 20 to 24.
The IBWA participated as a co-sponsor of the National Recycling Coalition’s (NRC) October launch of a historic campaign to reignite American consumer interest in recycling by providing clear and consistent information on what, how and why to recycle.
The IBWA was joined by fellow co-sponsors, which include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Beverage Association, the Food and Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers of America as the NRC announced the launch of the initiative at its 25th Annual Conference and Expo in Atlanta.
One of the first tasks of the partnership will be to develop and disseminate consumer-friendly recycling icons, such as the chasing arrows symbol, and accurate and standardized recycling terminology for use in product advertising and labeling.
All bottled water containers are recyclable where recycling facilities exist, and the bottled water industry is among the original recyclers. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which mandates stringent standards to help ensure bottled water’s consistent safety, taste and quality.
Pepsi-Cola Co. announced in July that it will begin to include on its label a statement reflecting the use of public water systems as a source for its bottled water products. The labels of the company’s Aquafina brand bottled water will state, “Public Water Source.”
The IBWA responded by noting that nothing prohibits a company from including source information on the label, and many bottled water companies voluntarily include source information. The FDA recognizes public drinking water as one of several approved sources for bottled water. The FDA does, however, require the label to state that the bottled water is from a municipal or community water system if it is sourced from a municipal water system and has not been treated further.
Because the bottled water industry has been the recent target of misguided criticism by activist groups and a handful of mayors across the country, the IBWA launched an aggressive media advertising campaign in August to set the record straight. The IBWA’s aim has been to provide the facts about bottled water to nearly every media outlet nationwide. The IBWA has clarified the industry’s outstanding record of environmental stewardship and responsible use of resources, demonstrated support of recycling and bottled water regulations and safety.
On Aug. 3, 2007, the IBWA placed full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle to provide balanced, factual and positive information to consumers and community leaders.