UK bottled water sales top 4 billion litres

Last year’s hot summer boosted UK water drinks consumption by more than 7% to 4.2bn litres, according to a new report from food and drink analysts Zenith Global. This was worth an estimated £3.3 million at retail prices.

Sales of plain bottled water in retail packs increased by 7.9% to 3.4 billion litres, whilst sales of flavoured, functional and juicy waters rose by 7.2%.

A key driver behind the growth was the warmest summer on record, according to the Met Office.  Zenith said the new soft drinks levy from April 2018, on products with a higher added sugar content, appears to have had a limited impact, after most manufacturers reformulated many products to avoid the tax.

Pressure undoubtedly increased on producers to improve their environmental profile. For the first time, the report documents packaging innovations such as recycled content as well as examining initiatives in recycling and deposit return schemes.

Zenith Global 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% a year,” said Zenith Global senior consultant Robin Bell. “Debate about plastic and recycling are likely to remain centre-stage and we expect to see more packaging from alternative materials becoming mainstream.”

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