Bottled Water Consumption Showing Significant Growth

U.S. bottled water consumption increased to 9.1 billion gallons in 2011, up 4.1% from 2010, according to a new report from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).  And as consumers embrace bottled water as a healthy alternative to other beverages, consumption is expected to continue growing in the years ahead. 

"People choose bottled water for a variety reasons," IBWA VP communications Chris Hogan said. "Many consumers are focusing on healthful choices for themselves and their families, and they know that crisp, refreshing bottled water has zero calories and is the healthiest option on the shelf. They also appreciate the reliable, consistent quality of bottled water."

The International Bottled Water Association, in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corp., found that while other major beverage categories, such as carbonated soft drinks, milk, and fruit beverages, continue to suffer declines in consumption, bottled water rates head in the opposite direction. IBWA and BMC found that in addition to the increase in consumption by 4.1%, per-​capita consumption was up 3.2% in 2011, with every person in America drinking an average of 29.2 gallons of bottled water last year.

According to Gary Hemphill, managing director, information services at BMC, “All signs point to U.S. consumers’ already displayed thirst for bottled water continuing in the years ahead. Changes in per capita consumption indicate persistent interest in a product that consumers embrace as a healthful alternative to other beverages.”

Indeed, bottled water added more gallons to its per-​person consumption rate in 10 years than either ready-​to-​drink tea or sports beverages reached by the end of that period,” he added.  “In fact, neither even reached 5 gallons per U.S. consumer by 2011.  Bottled water proved itself to be not only a key component of the liquid refreshment beverage market; it also proved itself to be poised for future increases in per capita consumption.”


Bottled water is a safe, healthy, and convenient packaged food product, which is comprehensively regulated at both the federal and state level.  Strictly regulated as a packaged food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bottled water is a safe, refreshing, convenient, and consistently reliable beverage choice. By mandate of federal law, the FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be as stringent as the EPA regulations which govern tap water.

The bottled water industry is also utilizing a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint.  All bottled water containers are 100% recyclable.  Although bottled water makes up only 0.03% of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA, the bottled water industry works hard on a number of fronts with recycling advocates, communities, and our beverage and food partners to increase recycling rates.  In fact, between 2000 and 2008, bottled water companies reduced the weight of PET resin plastic single-​serve bottles by 32%.  That is the equivalent of removing one out of three bottled water containers from the waste stream.

[Source:  International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)/Beverage Marketing Corp.  Research compiled by BMC Research.  21 May 2012.  Web.  29 May 2012.]