The UK water drinks market rebounded in 2021 as the country emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest UK Water Drinks Market reports from Zenith Global, the global food and drink experts.
UK consumption of plain water grew by 9% in 2021 to reach 3.5 billion litres. Volumes of flavoured, juicy and functional water drinks enjoyed even stronger growth, rising by 11% to 440 million litres. Retail sales value advanced more modestly by 3% to £2.5 billion, following a 25% drop in 2020.
“This is really positive progress for the water drinks sector,” commented Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall. “To see the market return close to pre-pandemic levels is a very promising step.
“Consumers have recognised the health benefits of staying hydrated during the pandemic. Adding in the re-opening of the hospitality trade and a gradual recovery for on-the-go consumption occasions, there is every reason for future optimism.”
Other insight highlights from the reports include:
- The average UK consumer drank just under one litre of plain water each week, totalling 51.4 litres in 2021, compared with 7.0 litres of water plus products last year.
- 34% of the population are consumers of plain water and 18% consumed flavoured water in 2021.
- Own-label accounted for 44% of plain water volumes, down 4% on 2020, as retailers and producers prioritised branded products amid supply chain challenges.
- Pressure for recycling and recycled content stepped up in the year, partly to meet new 30% minimum recycled content requirements for PET bottles from last week.
- Sparkling water volume fell by 2%, after a 2020 increase as a result of more meals being eaten at home.
Since the UK market has picked up more buoyantly than previous forecasts, 2022 is expected to see further volume growth of 3%, boosted by events attracting renewed local and international tourism including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“The strongest growth in percentage terms is anticipated in the functional waters segment, where volumes are forecast to more than double by 2026, driven by greater consumer interest in their health and wellbeing,” Mr Hall concluded.
The complete Zenith UK Water Drinks reports form the essential guide to the market through data and expert analysis. They cover volume and value from 2016, production, foreign trade, leading companies and brands, packaging and distribution, with forecasts to 2026.