Hot summer boost for UK’s bottled water

The hot summer experienced in the UK last year boosted water drinks consumption by more than seven per cent to 4,267 million litres, according to a report from food and drink consultancy, Zenith Global. The market was worth an estimated £3.33 billion ($4.4bn) at retail prices.

According to the report, sales of plain bottled water in retail packs increased by 7.9 per cent to 3.4 billion litres. Sales of flavoured, functional and juicy waters rose by 7.2 per cent.

The UK’s new soft drinks levy (in place since April 2018) on products with a higher added sugar content appears to have had a limited impact, Zenith concluded, after most manufacturers preemptively reformulated many products to avoid the tax.

Meanwhile, pressure increased on producers to improve their environmental profile. The report documents packaging innovations such as recycled content as well as examining initiatives in recycling and deposit return schemes.

Going forward, Zenith predicts that the UK market will continue to grow robustly, but at a slower pace than in recent years. “Our forecasts to 2023 show an upward trend of 3-5 per cent a year,” commented Robin Bell, a senior consultant at Zenith. “Debate about plastics and recycling are likely to remain centre stage and we expect to see more packaging from alternative materials becoming mainstream.”