By Gary Roethenbaugh

West Europe’s bottled water market continues to represent a long-term growth opportunity, according to leading drinks consultancy and bottled water specialists Zenith International. Boosted by a summer heat wave, consumption soared by 10 percent in 2003 to 44 billion liters. Despite poor weather in 2004 and some markets reaching maturity, bottled water’s virtues of convenience and hydration ensure that it remains a primary choice for many consumers.

Although 2004 is struggling to match the levels generated during last year’s heatwave, it is faring better when compared with the trend up to 2002. Bottled water remains a robust beverage category and a must-have accessory for people constantly on the move as lifestyles become more hectic.

Key findings of Zenith’s 2004 West Europe Bottled Water report include news that:

  • Six countries saw double-digit growth in 2003: Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden.
  • Italy, Germany and France held on to a combined share above 70 percent.
  • Average consumption rose to 112 liters per person, led by Italy at 189 litres per person.
  • PET climbed to 71 percent of total volume, while still water reached a 58 percent share.
  • Nestlé and Danone were the two leading companies, followed by San Benedetto and Castel.

2003 will certainly be remembered for its long hot summer. Key market developments so far in 2004 are downward pricing pressures in favor of discounters and supermarket labels, offset partly by a migration towards flavored and functional waters.”

Looking to the next five years, Zenith expects average annual growth of approaching 3 percentacross West Europe. Factoring in a severe slowdown in 2004, its forecast anticipates sales volumes rising a further 15 percent to pass 50 billion liters by 2008.

The 2004 Zenith Report on West Europe Bottled Water contains 135 pages including 21 market and industry overview tables, 16 detailed country profiles, ranking of top 50 national operators and full market analysis. Contact Zenith International by telephone +44 (0)1225 327900, fax +44 (0)1225 327901 or e-mail

About the Author
Roethenbaugh is research director for Zenith International, a worldwide consulting firm for the food and drink industries based in the United Kingdom. He can be reached at +44 (0)1225 327900 or for more information, visit


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