Water resistant6th November, 2003 by db_staff - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3 4 5
The demand is growing, the margins are generous. So what’s stopping restaurants from making more of mineral water? Storage space, that’s what, says Patrick Schmitt
NEXT TIME a sommelier asks you if you’d like something fizzy, or maybe refreshing, possibly even crisp, don’t assume it will be alcoholic – it could be water. The days of lazy lunches, beginning with a bottle of bubbly, followed by white, then red wine, and if you’re still upright, brandy, are over.
Busy, or more likely stressed, as well as health-conscious diners are demanding ever more mineral water to swill with repasts, and restaurateurs are having to react. The only problem is where to put the bottles – oh, and then there’s the issue of taste.
Selling something that’s almost identical to the free stuff from the tap in the lavatory isn’t always easy unless, of course, it’s beautifully packaged. However, believe it or not, water is the fastest growing category in the soft drinks market.
Ian Hall, chairman of the Natural Mineral Water Information Service and general manager of Spadel UK, owner of the Spa brand, says natural mineral water is currently growing in all channels at around 13% to 15%.
This is impressive, especially when compared not only to the slow growth of the economy as a whole, but also other non-alcoholic liquids that show only a 3% rise (AC Nielsen GB Ons Mat to July 2003).
And growth in bottled water has been rising steadily over the last decade – apart from this year’s blip when war with Iraq was announced, which induced a massive surge in sales.
Overall, since 1992, the total UK bottled-water market, now nudging £1bn in value, has tripled, leaping from just 520m litres to over 1.7bn litres (by the way, bottled water includes spring, with 82% of the market, mineral, 13%, and table, with 5%).