Sales of premium bottled waters increase

by Jeff Gelski
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BATH, UNITED KINGDOM – Zenith International estimates global sales of premium bottled water rose to 9.5 billion liters in 2010 from 9.4 billion liters in 2009 and in 2010 represented 6.3% of all bottled water consumption of pack sizes up to 10 liters. Zenith International, a consulting company for the food and beverage industry, defined premium primarily based on a brand’s price and positioning within the market.

“Premium bottled water is important because most water is very local and sold at relatively low prices,” said Karen Wells, senior consultant for Zenith International. “Adding a premium through a unique story, great design, powerful branding and communication that builds consumer loyalty can make all the difference to the success of a business.”

Leading premium brands worldwide include Evian, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Vittel and Volic, according to Zenith International. Imports such as Fiji and Evian dominate the U.S. premium market. The segment in Germany is substantial but fragmented and led by Gerolsteiner. China has a fast-growing premium sector with a combination of local and imported brands.

A combination of economic pressures and environmental concerns recently slowed the growth of the premium bottled water market, but Zenith International forecasts expansion.

“The best companies have improved their environmental credentials and the newly emerging middle classes in young economies with strong growth should provide renewed impetus for premium waters around the world,” Ms. Wells said.

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