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    Bottled Water Growth Slows

    Global beverage consumption overall is relatively healthy.

    BASINGSTOKE, England -- The economic downturn and environmental pressures are behind a sharp slowdown in the global bottled water market, according to a recent analysis by global beverage industry specialists Canadean. The situation is most marked in the U.S., where Canadean is forecasting annual growth of less than 1 percent for the next five years. This is a significant deceleration from the double-digit rates seen from 2000 to 2008.

    The momentum in bottled water demand is now seen in the "dynamic Asian markets," relayed Emily Neill, business development director at Canadean.

    High-profile tap water campaigns across many U.S. states and bottled water bans by public institutions have resulted in consumers reverting to tap and filtered water. This is being mirrored in some major European markets such as France and the U.K., with the economic conditions reinforcing this trend.

    Overall, the prognosis for global commercial beverage consumption is relatively healthy. Beverage demand is forecast to weather the economic storm, growing 2.0 percent in 2009 and 2.6 percent per year in the longer term.

    The more buoyant categories include still drinks, nectars (juice drinks) as well as bulk and bottled water, where growth in countries such as China, India and Indonesia will compensate for the stagnation in western economies. After a near flat performance in 2009, carbonated beverages are expected to return to a growth rate of 2 percent annually.

    The energy drinks category grew at double-digit rates across a large number of countries in 2008, and is predicted to rise by nearly 10 percent globally in 2009. Increased volume sizes, the entry of more private label products and strong support from the multinational players are all factors pushing up consumption.

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