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Bottled water market evaporating

A recent YouGov SixthSense report into the drinks sector reveals that 60% of UK adults view bottled water as a waste of money, with almost three quarters of respondents (71%) agreeing that tap water is as clean as bottled water.

The results echo the findings of a survey carried out by the charity WaterAid in 2009, which found that around two thirds of consumers are now opting for tap water when they visit restaurants. Along with the recession, perceived negative ecological effects and potential health risks associated with mineral water are cited as possibly having an influence on consumer behavior.

The SixthSense report comes in the wake of findings released by C-Crest Laboratories in Canada, wherein Dr Sonish Azam claims that 70% of bottled water found in shops contains high levels of bacteria. Findings in the SixthSense report suggest that some or all of the factors mentioned above may account for the fall in mineral water market value of 10% during 2009.

Commenting on the results, James McCoy, research director for YouGov SixthSense, said, “The mineral water market has experienced exponential growth over the past ten years but signs are this may be coming to an end. New reports are significant in altering the interrelated perceptions of tap water and bottled water, but the recession, innovations in home filtering and the popularity of Brita-style products may also have contributed to the renewed faith in tap-water.”

Only 27% of respondents drink bottled mineral water in an average day, with 58% typically consuming tap water. Interestingly, those better off are most likely to drink tap water, with 62% of the more affluent drinking tap water, as opposed to the 53% of their typically less well off counterparts.

The health benefits of drinking water have been widely publicised and evidence within the report suggests that that the public has been generally receptive to new research, with 65% of UK adults currently trying to drink more water. However, the same report also asserts that one in three UK adults fail to drink tap or bottled water in an average day.

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