Bottled water soon will take the beverage crown

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 4, 2014 12:04 pm ET
Updated: February 4, 2014 10:07 pm ET

Image By: Jim Johnson Gary Hemphill predicts water will soon be the largest beverage sales category in the U.S.

Related to this story

Topics Beverage, Beverage (carbonated water), Beverage (soda, 1 liter), Beverage (soda, 2 liter), Beverage (soda, 3+ liter), Beverage (soda, single serve), Beverage (still water), Packaging, Blow Molding

ORLANDO, FLA. – It's certainly not going to happen in 2014. And it won't happen in 2015.

But, in the not-too-distant future, bottled water will overtake carbonated soft drinks as the largest beverage category in the United States, according to one industry expert.

Gary A. Hemphill, managing director and chief operating officer of research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp., predicts that bottled water consumption will eclipse carbonated soft drink consumption in three or four years.

And plastic will continue to gain market share in the beverage container market thanks to the ongoing success of bottled water.

"The best news for plastic is the likelihood of continued growth in bottled water, a category that plastic dominates," Hemphill said at The Packaging Conference in Orlando. "One of the key categories for plastics is bottled water.

"Our projection is ultimately (water is) going to surpass carbonated soft drinks as the biggest category on a volume basis in the U.S. That's not going to happen this year, and it's not going to happen next year. But by 2017, 2018, something like that, it seems inevitable that that's going to happen," he said.

Bottled water, the way that Beverage Marketing analyzes the market, is a broader category than just single-serve containers. It includes water cooler jugs as well as larger containers, like one- and two-gallon jugs, sold at grocery stores.

But make no mistake, those single-serve containers are what's fueling the growing popularity of the segment.

"The overall category has been growing by about mid-single digits, so that 4-to-6 percent range," Hemphill said. "What's really driving it is the single-serve market for bottled water. The way we define that is 1.5 liters and under. That's roughly two-thirds of the bottled water category," he said.

And that's a sweet spot for plastic.

"There's some interest and people have looked at other packaging materials for bottled water, but at the end of the day, that is about as perfect as you can get for that category," he said about using plastic. "Portability is really important. Resealability is really important."

"Those are key attributes that consumers want, retailers want," he said, along with plastic's lighter weight compared to other containers and its "unbreakability."

"It's probably the best-positioned packaging right now for beverages. But all the packaging types have their niche and have their uses. Obviously, the can has been amazingly successful for a number of years and continues to be," he said.

The popularity of bottled water continues to grow as companies look to aggressively take costs out of their production. That includes installing high-speed filling systems and lightweighting bottles.

Some companies, particularly private-label firms, have attacked their cost structures to a point where there is not much more room to improve. But Hemphill said there still space for additional efficiencies across the entire market as not all bottled water firms have taken such an aggressive approach.


Comments

Bottled water soon will take the beverage crown

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 4, 2014 12:04 pm ET
Updated: February 4, 2014 10:07 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

April 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe's largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.    More

Fallmann named president of Consolidated Container

April 14, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Sean Fallmann, described by Consolidated Container Co. as “a seasoned packaging executive,” takes over as president and CEO of the blow...    More

Casey Container signs stock deal to help launch future production

April 10, 2014 3:34 pm ET

Casey Container Corp. continues to try to build on its plan to offer biodegradable plastic containers, announcing that it has signed a $10 million...    More

Taghleef buys Spanish BOPP film company

April 10, 2014 9:21 am ET

Taghleef Industries Group has agreed to buy Derprosa Film, based in Spain, which will add to Taghleef's growing capacity for production of biaxially...    More

RKW to enter the Chinese market

April 9, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Film and flexible packaging group RKW SE is planning to open its first business unit in China at the end of 2014, signalling its entry into the Chines...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events