May 21, 2024
U.S. Bottled Water

U.S. Bottled Water: A Lucrative Industry Showing No Signs of Slowing Down Types of Bottled Water

Types of Bottled Water

Bottled water in the U.S. comes in a variety of types depending on where it comes from and what has been done to it during processing. The main categories are natural mineral water, spring water, purified water, and sparkling water.

Natural mineral water comes from a protected underground water source and contains unique mineral properties. It must be bottled at its original source and have the same composition and qualities it had underground. Much of the natural mineral water sold in the U.S. Bottled Water comes from Europe.

Spring water comes from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth’s surface. It maintains its natural properties and mineral content but can be processed with filtration or simple methods to remove impurities. Many popular spring water brands come from natural springs located across the U.S.

Purified water, also called drinking water, comes from municipal water sources, wells, or springs. It undergoes extensive filtration and disinfection treatment to remove impurities and leave only H2O. This type of bottled water makes up over 70% of bottled water sold in the U.S. and is commonly found in generic or store brand bottles.

Sparkling water gets its effervescence from injected carbon dioxide, giving it a bubbly texture similar to soda. It may come from any of the other three water types and is often naturally sparkling spring water. Popular brands include Perrier and San Pellegrino, which have higher mineral contents than typical sparkling waters.

Industry Growth and Consumption

The U.S. Bottled Water has grown exponentially since the 1990s as concerns over municipal tap water quality have risen. All forms of bottled water excluding carbonated waters account for over 25% of all beverage volume as Americans’ preference for healthy, convenient beverage options increases. Consumption is highest in areas with warm climates like the South and West regions.

Concerns over Microplastics

While bottled water provides a portable source of hydration, concerns over its environmental impact have grown in recent years. A significant issue is the presence of microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles less than 5mm in size. Studies have found microplastics present in bottled water at low levels, likely coming from bottle degradation and manufacturing processes.

The health effects of microplastics in water are still being researched, as their small size allows them to enter human tissues including the lungs, liver, and digestive tract. Risks include cell damage, immune system problems, and endocrine disruption. Microplastics have also accumulated in the oceans and ecosystems around the world due to packaging waste. Despite the concerns, regulations on plastic bottle usage and plastic pollution in bottled water have not been widely implemented in the U.S.

Regulations and Standards

Bottled water production is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Standards address source water quality, production and bottling processes, product labeling, quality testing, and good manufacturing practices. Bottlers must meet FDA requirements regarding microbiological, physical, chemical, and radiological contaminant levels to protect public health.

Labels must accurately state the water source and whether it has been treated. Products labeled “purified,” “distilled,” or “demineralized” water must meet stricter standards due to extensive treatment processes. State regulations may be more stringent than federal guidelines as well. Regular audits and testing help ensure consumer safety, though critics argue FDA guidelines have lagged behind scientific findings on new contaminants.

Future Outlook

While microplastic pollution concerns and sustainability of plastic bottle usage pose challenges, the U.S. Bottled Water is expected to continue growing in the U.S. as health consciousness increases. Bottled water provides a revenue stream from consumer packaged goods and fits active lifestyles needing hydration on the go.

As climate change affects drought situations and concerns over municipal water persist, bottled water will remain an appealing alternative to many Americans. Advancements in areas like plant-based and aluminum bottle alternatives could help address sustainability issues. Overall bottled water stands to gain from long term trends prioritizing healthy hydration and convenience. With improved regulations to uphold safety and environmental standards, the industry is positioned for ongoing expansion in coming years.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it