Take a quick look around your office and see what your coworkers are drinking. Yes, I'm sure coworkers are drinking coffee, but how many of them are slugging down sodas, sweet teas and other sugar-added beverages? Chances are, more and more of your workers are drinking water. Looking at my own desk, I only see a 1-liter Nalgene filled with (you guessed it) water.
According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, over the past fifteen years, U.S. bottled water consumption has risen significantly. Americans are craving calorie-free bottled water in efforts to lose weight, improve their overall health, and remove added sugars from their diets. According to BMC, Americans have been able to cut between 61 and 68 trillion calories from their diets between 2000 and 2015 by switching to bottled water.
During this timeframe, total volume rose to 11.7 billion gallons in 2015, up from 4.7 billion consumed in 2000. Individual bottled water consumption was the star product of the period, rising from 16.7 gallons per person in 2000 to 36.7 gallons per person in 2015, an increase of 120%. For a bit of contrast, non-bottled water options including carbonated soft drinks, fruit beverages, energy drinks, sports beverages, ready–to–drink coffee and tea, and all forms of milk, decreased from 27 billion gallons to 25.8 billion gallons.
It seems everywhere you look, sugar-sweetened beverages are being attacked. From a proposed tax on sugary drinks in Illinois to fight the state's budget deficit to a Philadelphia proposal aimed at levying a 3 center-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, the products seem to be becoming more and more cost-prohibitive for consumers. Just today, Keurig announced it is discontinuing its Kold home beverage system since it didn't meet consumer expectations. Perhaps consumers are just looking for more bottled water. No matter the reason, it's just another example of a soda product not reaching consumers.
For grocers to remain competitive, they'll need to continue offering this product to consumers. Flavored waters, individual bottles at check-out and bulk cases of the product all figure to be big sellers as U.S. moves away from sugar-sweetened drinks. The wave is already cresting - is your company ready to ride it?