Thursday, February 26, 2009

Consumers Vote for Bottled Water as Their "Number One" Beverage for a Healthy Lifestyle

In a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, bottled water was the Number One choice of consumers when asked to identify the bottled beverage they most associate with living a healthy lifestyle. In the survey, respondents were asked, "Please think about living a healthy lifestyle. Which one bottled beverage do you associate most with living a healthy lifestyle?" The results were as follow (in descending order):

Bottled water (58 percent)
Milk (22 percent)
None of these (6 percent)
Bottled fruit beverages (5 percent)
Sports or energy drinks (3 percent)
Other (3 percent)
Bottled tea (2 percent)
Carbonated soft drinks (2 percent)
Bottled coffee (less than 1 percent)

Of the 3,238 consumers surveyed, 58 percent selected "bottled water" as the bottled beverage most associated with a healthy lifestyle. More than twice as many people selected bottled water as a healthy-lifestyle beverage than the next most popular choice: milk, which received 22 percent of the votes.

Linda McDonald, MS, RD, editor and publisher of Supermarket Savvy newsletter, said of the survey results, "It is encouraging to see that the majority of consumers make bottled water their healthy-lifestyle bottled beverage-of-choice. Because it does not contain calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial colors, alcohol, or other ingredients, I think that there is nothing better than water to refresh and hydrate, and bottled water provides a smart beverage choice."

"While all beverages have their role in the marketplace, consumers are choosing bottled water in greater numbers for a variety of reasons," said Stephen R. Kay, IBWA vice president of communications. "The consistent safety, quality, good taste, and convenience make bottled water a natural choice that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle."

According to Beverage Marketing Corporation in its 2007 report, "Bottled Water in the United States," U.S. bottled water sales exceeded 8.25 billion gallons, a 9.5 percent increase, bottled water per capita consumption level of 27.6 gallons increased by over two gallons, from 25.4 gallons per capita the previous year. Additionally, the wholesale dollar sales for bottled water exceeded $10.8 billion, an 8.5 percent increase over the prior year. Bottled water in 2003 emerged as the second largest U.S. consumer beverage category by volume behind carbonated soft drinks (CSDs); a position the industry still retains. "While CSDs still have volume and average intake levels more than twice as high as bottled water," Beverage Marketing reported, "the soft drink market has been stagnant lately, in no small part due to bottled water."

Water plays a critical role in the human body by aiding in respiration and digestion, cushioning joints and other important functions. Americans, therefore, should remember that refreshment and hydration are important year-round. To help individuals meet their personal hydration goals, IBWA has a hydration calculator available on its website (www.bottledwater.org.) This hydration resource is an interactive tool based on expert resources and the most current findings of the National Academy of Sciences. IBWA's Hydration Calculator (www.bottledwater.org/public/hydratio_main.htm) provides helpful suggestions about an individual's total fluid intake derived from both beverages and food, and other information about water's (including bottled water, public drinking water, and/or filtered tap water) vital role in refreshment, health and hydration.

Bottled water is regulated as a packaged food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which mandates stringent standards for safety, quality, production, labeling, and identity. Along with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which are required of all foods, bottled water must comply with several other applicable regulations, including Standards of Identity, Standards of Quality and additional, specific bottled water GMPs. Being a packaged food product, bottled water is also bound by the Nutrition Labeling Education Act (NLEA) and the full range of FDA protective measures designed to enforce product safety requirements and protect consumers.

Please click here to see the rest of this article courtesy of the IBWA