Bottled Water Sales Return To Growth In 2010, Rising 3.5 Percent

May 31, 2011

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC) has released 2010 bottled water statistics, compiled by BMC, a research, consulting, and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry ( The new BMC data, released in the May 2011 issue of “Bottled Water Reporter” magazine, shows the overall consumption of bottled water has increased, by 3.5 percent, after slight losses in 2008 and 2009 due to poor economic conditions. It also shows the bottled water category’s overall share of the liquid refreshment beverages marketplace grew slightly to 30 percent, up from approximately 29.2 percent in 2009.

In 2010, total bottled water consumption increased to 8.75 billion gallons, up from 8.45 billion gallons in 2009. Per-capita consumption is up 2.6 percent in 2010, with every person in America now drinking an average of 28.3 gallons of bottled water last year.

Overall in 2010, the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category grew by 1.2 percent, after two years of a recession-based downturn. Currently, carbonated soft drinks command a 23 percent market share, down slightly from 2009, while bottled water’s market share grew to 15 percent as consumer interest in healthy, calorie-free beverages increased while recessionary impacts on them decreased.

According to John Rodman, editorial director at BMC in a prepared statement, “The recessionary state of the U.S. economy was the primary cause of the decreases registered in 2008 and 2009.” Rodman also stated, “Although bottled water has often been linked to tap water, bottled water actually achieved its market position by luring consumers away from other packaged beverages perceived as less wholesome than bottled water.”

“While economic times are still tough for many, the consumption of healthy bottled water continues to be a part of their lifestyle,” said Joe Doss, president and CEO of IBWA. “Even during the past two slow economic years, bottled water consumption decreased less than most other major beverage categories. The steady market share increase we now are experiencing is because consumers are choosing safe, high-quality bottled water over other packaged beverages,” Doss added.

Consumers should also know that bottled water safety and quality result from multiple layers of regulation and standards at the federal, state and industry levels.

Bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. Although bottled water makes up only 1/3 of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA, the bottled water industry works hard on a number of fronts with recycling advocates, communities, and our beverage and food partners to increase recycling rates. The bottled water industry is also at the forefront utilizing measures to reduce our environmental footprint. During the past eight years, bottled water companies have reduced the weight of PET resin plastic single-serve bottles by 32 percent. That is the equivalent of removing one out of three bottled water containers from the waste stream.

Bottled water is a packaged food product that is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is subject to stringent standards for safety, quality, production, labeling, and identity. Along with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which are required of all foods, bottled water must comply with several other applicable regulations, including a Standard of Identity, Standards of Quality and additional, specific bottled water GMPs. Being a packaged food product, bottled water is also bound by the full range of FDA protective measures designed to enforce product safety and protect consumers. States can also regulate bottled water inspections, sampling, analyzing and approving bottled water sources, and testing laboratory certification. As part of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, IBWA members voluntarily utilize the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) for a science-based approach to bottled water production and safety. FDA recognizes HACCP as a key component of food safety and consumer protection.

For an overview of bottled water regulations and standards, environmental facts, and other bottled water information, visit the IBWA web site at