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    Bottled Water on the Verge of Overtaking CSDs

    Could be largest U.S. beverage category by volume by year's end.

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Last year proved to be a refreshing year for bottled water.

    Statistics from 2015 released by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC), show that U.S. consumers' consumption of bottled water increased 7.9 percent and bottled water sales were up 8.9 percent over the previous year.

    According to BMC, bottled water is poised to overtake carbonated soft drinks as the largest beverage category in the United States by volume by 2017, if not by the end of 2016.

    "Consumer demand for bottled water looks likely to remain strong in the years ahead. Increases in per-capita consumption indicate enthusiasm for a product that consumers regard as a healthful alternative to other beverages," said Michael Bellas, BMC chairman and CEO. 

    "Americans increased their annual consumption by more than 11 gallons, from 25.4 gallons per person in 2005 to 36.5 gallons a decade later. During the same period, per-capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks dropped by 12.4 gallons. Per-capita consumption of other major beverage categories, like milk and fruit beverages, also fell," Bellas added.

    The boost in bottled water reflects the larger consumer trend toward healthy, convenient offerings.

    BMC reported that by 2015, bottled water had achieved a new volume record — almost 3 billion gallons higher than it had been in 2007. Soft drinks, on the other hand, saw its 11th straight year of volume reduction last year.

    Some other statistics released include:  

    • Bottled water sales now total $14.2 billion (wholesale).
    • In 2015, total U.S. bottled water consumption grew to 11.7 billion gallons, up from 10.87 billion gallons in 2014.
    • Per-capita consumption of bottled water was up 7.1 percent in 2015, with every person in the U.S. drinking an average of 36.5 gallons of bottled water last year.

    "There are many attributes that contribute to bottled water's undeniable appeal to U.S. consumers. Among them are bottled water's healthfulness, convenience, reliability, and safety," said Chris Hogan, vice president of communications for IBWA.

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