Bottled water is drinking water found in springs, wells and municipal sources generally packaged in plastic or glass bottles. Globally, it is the most consumed beverage with a large number of consumers preferring it as a healthier alternative to other packaged beverages. Bottled water market comprises of carbonated water, still water (non-carbonated), flavoured water and functional water. Of these, still water captures the largest market share followed by carbonated water. However, demand for flavoured and functional water is expected to gain momentum in the coming years majorly attributable to rising awareness about healthier lifestyle and availability of electrolytes enriched water, flavours etc.
Bottled water industry is matured in developed countries and it has also been gaining its acceptance in the emerging economies. However, in cost-sensitive emerging economies, companies are facing challenges finding novel ways to boost sales.
The bottled water industry is expected to witness growth for small bottlers with the availability of economic and innovative bottling techniques. Although increase in global consumption of bottled water is expected to boost market sales, factors like water contamination caused by leaching, lack of awareness of unsafe tap water and government regulations to monitor safe manufacturing process are expected to hamper the overall market growth.
Bottled water is generally considered better and safer option than tap water in most of the countries. However, on the contrary, in USA there is an emerging opposition for bottled water because in US tap water is considered cleaner than the bottled water generally procured from public water supplies. Consequently, supported by social, economic and environmental factors, USA is witnessing a shift towards local tap water.
Considering negative environmental impacts of plastic bottles, awareness for eco-friendly packaging is increasing and it has also resulted in production of thinner polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles which can be easily recycled.
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