Bottled water continues to grow at an unprecedented pace and the category’s popularity is attracting the attention of more than just retailers. The focus on bottled water by revenue-hungry legislatures and environmental special-interest groups will remain an ongoing story for the foreseeable future, and few are saying with certainty how it’s going to fully play out.
Bottled water remains a tremendously popular and trendy product category, which is what attracted the attention of these two groups in the first place. It would seem both want to make bottled water sales more of a hassle and less profitable.
The battle, as with other product categories in the past, must be fought in local legislatures across the country, and it calls for suppliers, wholesalers and distributors to join forces with retailers.
“I’m glad somebody is calling attention to this subject,” said Tariq Khan, a 7-Eleven franchisee based in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and the former national chairman of the National Coalition of 7-Eleven Franchisees.
Khan and his associates successfully staved off legislation last year that would have imposed deposit fees on bottled water and other beverages. This year, New York Gov. David Patterson is once again trying to get that provision into his budget.
Supplier support has been key to growing this lucrative category. The 95 bottled water buyers in CSD’s Brand Preference Study named Aquafina (PepsiCo), Dasani (Coca-Cola Co.) and Nestle Waters as the top performers, while Fiji and Evian were ranked as honorable mentions.