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Bottled water blooms in India

By Ankush Chibber , 28-Jun-2012

Fresh drinking water scarce and health concerns up: India's bottled water sector surges
Fresh drinking water scarce and health concerns up: India's bottled water sector surges

India’s bottled water industry is poised for stark growth pushed by pure drinking water shortages and a rising awareness of water-related health issues, a new report said.

According to research report The Indian Bottled Water Market: Unveiling its Thirst by India-based market research firm Ikon Marketing Consultants, the bottled water industry in India is growing 19% annually.

The market for bottled water in India stands at US$1.4bn with the potential to hit a market worth US$1.8bn by 2020. The growth momentum will steadily reach US$1.6bn by 2015, the report said. However, within the US$90bn global bottled water market, India only accounts for around 2%.

Consuming bottled water in India is become a necessity now, it stated, and this surge is set to be underpinned by demands from the institutional sector such as hotels and corporate businesses.

An alert populace

Naveen Luthra, founder and CEO at Luthra Water Systems, told FoodNavigator-Asia that the urban population is well aware of the problems with government supplied drinking water.

“In the cities at least, there is awareness. They prefer to install purifiers at their homes or opt for a steady supply of mineral water from companies like Bisleri or Aquafina. No one wants to risk waterborne disease,” Luthra said.

Luthra’s company manufactures the Mulshi Springs brand of non-chemically treated natural spring water that retails in metros as well as sold under white labels by many institutional clients such as airlines, hotels and big corporates.

“Institutional sales make a big part of our business currently. Clients such as hotels want only the best bottled water and we see this as a big driver for the bottled water industry in the future,” he said.

Bulk water growing in stature

Besides the rising health awareness, factors such as scarcity of drinking water, a rapidly rising population, a growing spending capacity and an increased market segment for bulk water, are also driving the bottled water market in India, the report showed.

While the small pack of bottled water (mainly the 1 litre bottle) has been the product of choice for the Indian population due to availability and affordability, the demand for bulk packs is growing, it noted.

Higher demands for bulk packs are stronger from regions scarce in available drinking water, the report added, with South India the biggest consumer region for bottled water, representing more than half of the market, prompted by its water starved environment.

Bulk water will snatch up 50% of the overall bottled water market in the next five years, the research suggested.

Sector dominated by both sides

India’s bottled water market is evenly comprised of national brands with a pan-Indian presence, and local brands; some with registered plants others without.

There are 3,300 registered plants bottling water across the country, the report detailed, but there are 12,000 unregistered plants. 

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