March 4, 2013
The Sydney Morning Herald, Environment
David Sygall

It’s a battle over billions, but both sides agree plastic bottle sales are falling

Bottled water producers are facing increasing pressure as the product falls from favour among the industry’s most loyal buyers.

Figures provided to Fairfax by Roy Morgan Research show that in the 12 months to September last year 30 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds said they drank bottled water, compared with 36 per cent in 2007. In the 14 to 25 age group, 33 per cent drank bottled water compared with 35 per cent in 2007.

The industry’s opponents believe the numbers show a tipping point has been reached, and bottled water sales will fall as people learn more about a product that is, according to Clean Up Australia chief Ian Kiernan, ”a bloody disgrace”.

The Australasian Bottled Water Institute claims volume growth is expected to be between 7 and 8 per cent this year, but concedes there has been a marked drop in the number of young people buying the product.

”We think it’s due to a number of reasons,” says the institute’s chief executive, Geoff Parker. ”Maturity of the category is part of it, the anti-bottled water detractors are good in their messaging, and other categories within health and wellness, such as iced teas, are doing very well.”

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