Bottled Water Washes Away Carbonated Competition
By 2017, bottled water is projected to outsell soda in supermarkets across the United States, according to projections by Beverage Marketing Corp. that were cited in an article by the Wall Street Journal. Based on BMC’s data, Americans currently consume twice the amount of bottled water—34 gallons to be exact—than they did back in 2000 during the 17 gallon era, with a 7% increase from 2014 alone. But it isn’t just bottled water’s increase in popularity that’s causing this historical first, but soda’s decline in popularity…while we consumed 53 gallons a year in 2000, we’re down to an average 40 gallons per person a year by 2014, a drop that can be tied to Americans turning towards healthier beverage options with less sugar and fewer artificial ingredients. Naturally, there is no beverage with less sugar and fewer artificial ingredients than purified and/or spring water.
Although soda manufacturers are certainly being impacted negatively by the drop in soda sales, many large soda corporations—such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo—control a huge portion of the US bottled water market, with those two companies selling 20% of all the bottled water we buy. Many Americans fail to realize that Dasani purified water is owned by Coca-Cola, while Aquafina purified water is owned by PepsiCo, and every bottle of the two brands is turning a profit for the soda oligarchs.
As the bottled water market continues to expand, investors are willing to shell out major amounts of cash to back new bottled water fads, trends, and niche markets. Brands like Fiji, Evian, and Voss are marketing spring water bottled at the source from locations far, far away such as the French Alps and Norwegian freshwater springs, with bottles typically ranging between $2 for a small plastic bottle of Fiji to over $4 for a large glass bottle of Voss. But if $4 for a simple bottle of water sounds completely superfluous, the luxury bottled water market has bigger surprises in store: a single 750ml Berg (sourced from freshwater icebergs in Canada) bottled water costs around $16. But if you think that’s as absurd as bottled water can get pricewise, it’s nothing compared to the $40 price tag for a single 750ml bottle of Bling H20, which is just plain old spring water from the English Mountain Spring in Dandridge, Tennessee. Why a company selling normal spring water from some backwater town in Tennessee can charge $24 more than water from melted icebergs in Canada and still turn a profit, we may never know.
What does this all mean for those in the auction industry? Our guess is that there will be a sell-off of carbonated-beverage-specific equipment if the trend continues and we see sodas further fall from the public’s favor. Beverage packaging, however, will always be around – and perhaps even see renewed interest in light of the new, independent beverage companies coming into play.