Bottled water consumption down slightly in 2009

by Keith Nunes
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NEW YORK — Data compiled by the market research firm the Beverage Marketing Corp. and distributed by the International Bottled Water Association, Alexandria, Va., shows that bottled water consumption in 2009 was 8.45 billion gallons, a 2.5% decrease compared with 2008 when consumption was 8.66 billion gallons.

With regard to the liquid refreshment beverage marketplace, bottled water’s market share held steady at 29.2%, according to the B.M.C.

“Although 2009 was the second year in a row of unusual weakness in liquid refreshment beverages’ performance, the worst may be over,” said Michael C. Bellas, chairman and chief executive officer. “Beverages are likely to be one of the first categories to benefit with a job-led economic recovery because they represent an inexpensive form of pleasure.”

Overall in 2009, the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category fell by 2.7%, the second consumption downturn in two years, according to the B.M.C. Analysts with the group attributed the drop primarily to the recession, which is also in its second year. Consumption of carbonated soft drinks fell by 2.3% while sports drinks as a category declined by 12.3%. Packaged fruit beverages fell by 2%. Recently-launched flavored and vitamin-added bottled water saw an 8.8% decline. Energy drinks advanced 0.2%, while ready-to-drink bottled teas saw a 1.2% gain, the only category gains recorded in 2009.

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