UK water sales up a billion litres in five years

UK sales of plain, flavoured, juicy and functional waters have increased by more than one billion litres over the past five years, according to the new 2020 UK Water Drinks market report from the food and drink experts Zenith Global.

 Volumes excluding water coolers rose from under three billion litres in 2014 to over four billion litres in 2019, dipping by 4% in 2019 after the hot summer of 2018. The overall sales value of UK water drinks in 2019 was £3.3 billion.

Plain water has grown substantially faster than other water types, up 39% since 2014, and accounts for 87% of total volume. Flavoured water on 11% is up 9%, juicy water on 1.3% is up 15% and functional water on 0.4% is up 21%.

Water drinks have been growing strongly in recent years,” said Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall, “but I don’t believe the water plus group of flavoured, juicy and functional waters have yet reached their potential.

“They have all the advantages of water for natural, zero calorie healthy hydration. They have the added attraction of flavour and fortification with fruit, vitamins and more. It seems UK consumers are essentially happy with all the other choices of drink available as well, from carbonated soft drinks through to other categories from coffee to kombucha.”

Among other findings in the Zenith Global report, which incorporates the 2020 UK Plain Water market report and the 2020 UK Water Plus market report:

  • The UK water plus market was worth £560 million in 2019.
  • UK consumers drank 7.6 litres of water plus products in 2019, compared with 52.5 litres of plain water.
  • UK water plus volumes fell 9% in 2019.
  • Sparkling water plus products increased their share to 34% of volume, with still products accounting for 66%.
  • Most water plus distribution is in retail, with 66% sold in supermarkets and 27% in convenience outlets, compared with 7% away from home.

Zenith Global forecasts overall recovery in the UK water drinks market in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but cautions about difficulties from 2020 taking time to be reflected in consumer confidence.