Americans Still Do Not Drink Enough Water; New Survey Reveals What America Drinks

Feb. 22, 2002

As the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) joins other water enthusiasts at the 12th Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, bottled water's robust growth shows no signs of letting up.

But growing consumer awareness about the health benefits of hydration has not led all consumers to drink recommended daily amounts of water, according to a new nationwide survey released by IBWA today. The national survey, conducted for IBWA by Wirthlin Worldwide, found that although 63 percent of those surveyed were aware that health experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce servings of water every day, the average daily consumption is 5.3 cups per day.

"The survey findings show high consumer awareness of how much water they should drink, but also reveal that they need to translate this awareness into actual consumption," said Stephen R. Kay, IBWA Vice President, Communications. "All of us at this festival in Berkeley Springs share a common goal of continuing to educate consumers about the many health and lifestyle benefits of hydration."

Although the IBWA survey found that most Americans are not drinking the recommended amounts of water, it also shows that water is a major part of a person's daily drinking pattern. According to the survey data, the combination of unfiltered or filtered water and bottled water consumed each day constitutes 40 percent of reported daily drink consumption (statistical

back-up is available).

The survey also shows that 46 percent of Americans drink bottled water daily, consuming an average 1.7 eight-ounce servings. The survey ranked bottled water as the third most consumed beverage based on average daily consumption, just behind filtered/non-filtered water (3.6 servings per day) and coffee (1.8 servings per day). The respondents were asked how much of 11 drink choices they consumed on a daily basis. The survey reported the following average daily consumption (8 oz. servings): filtered or non-filtered water (3.6), coffee (1.8), bottled water (1.7), caffeinated soft drinks (1.3); milk (1.2); juice (1.1); tea (.9); non-caffeinated soft drinks (.6); alcohol (.5); new age beverages (.4); sports drinks (.2).

Data from Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) shows that bottled water continues to climb the annual per capita consumption rankings of beverage categories, surpassing fruit juice and gaining quickly on beer. Americans consumed 5.03 billion gallons of bottled water in 2000, up 125 percent from the 2.2 gallons consumed in 1990. Annual per capita consumption of bottled water now stands at 18.3 gallons, up from 12.1 gallons in 1995. If current projections hold true, in 2004 bottled water will become the second-most consumed beverage, surpassing beer, coffee and milk (measure does not include public water).

IBWA members offer a wide array of bottled water products suited for every taste. Bottled water product categories include well, spring, sparkling, purified, mineral, drinking and artesian waters. As well, some bottlers have developed fluoridated brands. Bottled water is also an excellent beverage choice for consumers that want a beverage that does not contain sugar, caffeine or alcohol.

Bottled water is subject to a number of stringent federal, state and industry regulations, which are key factors in its consistent safety and quality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and by law, FDA's bottled water Standard of Quality must be at least as stringent as the U.S. Environmental Agency's (EPA) standards for tap water. Bottled water also must meet state regulations that, in some cases, are more stringent than FDA and EPA standards. All IBWA members also must adhere to the IBWA Model Code, a mandatory set of standards that require all bottler members to undergo an annual, unannounced plant inspection by a nationally recognized third-party organization.

The findings announced today by IBWA are based on a national survey of 1,002 adults 18 years or older living in the United States. The margin of error is +3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Source: International Bottled Water Association

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