Bottled water
Bottled water is taking market share from soft drinks.

KANSAS CITY — Mintel, Packaged Facts and the Beverage Marketing Corp. agree. Bottled water sales are gushing and grabbing market share from carbonated soft drinks.

Chicago-based Mintel in February of this year reported sales of bottled water in the United States increased 6% to surpass $15 billion in 2015. Mintel projected sales growth of 35% for the category through 2020, including a 75% growth in the sparkling/mineral water/seltzer segment. Mintel reported 48% of bottled water drinkers said they are drinking more flavored waters to replace high sugar drinks.

Traditionally, cutting calories meant having a diet soft drink instead of a regular soft drink or choosing a salad over a pasta dish, according to Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md., in a report released in August. In recent years people increasingly have become more likely to drink water or low-calorie or no-calorie beverages when hungry instead of eating food, according to Packaged Facts.

“The healthy lifestyle mantra to ‘eat less sugar, drink less soda’ has taken root, and bottled water is benefiting from the trickledown effect of this increased sugar and soda avoidance,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

The Beverage Marketing Corp., New York, reported volume of bottled water increased 8% in 2015 in the United States while volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 1.5% as their market share in liquid refreshment beverages dipped below 40%. The Coke brand was the most consumed drink at 3,994.4 million gallons in 2015, which was down nearly 3% from 2014. Following Coke were Pepsi at 1,946.0 million gallons, down 4%; Mountain Dew at 1,342.7 million gallons, down 1%; and Dr Pepper at 1,160.3 million gallons, down 0.8%.

Sugar content influenced the purchasing decision of soft drinks for 57% of consumers in the United States, according to a 2015 survey from Innova Market Insights, Duiven, The Netherlands. Globally, more than 16% of soft drink launches in the 12-month period ended in March used either a no-added-sugar, low-sugar or sugar-free claim, according to Innova.

“The interest in sugar reduction has combined with the ongoing emphasis on clean labeling to boost the use of natural sweeteners in particular with more sophisticated blends developed for specific applications increasingly in evidence,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova.