Facing Declining Demand, Water Bottlers Start Price War
Despite new strategies by bottled-water companies to offer more eco-friendly packaging, it hasn’t been enough to win back environmentally-minded customers. Bottled-water makers have stepped up a months-long price war to try to win back customers who now use tap water to reduce environmental waste and to save money, reports the Wall Street Journal. It could be an uphill battle as one UK study on the use of bottled water in the Parliament shows that a switch to tap water could save 11 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
PepsiCo, Coke and Nestle are some of the companies slashing prices. For example, PepsiCo Inc.’s Aquafina brand sold at some grocery stores for as little as $2.99 for a 24-pack of half-liter bottles, reports the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to lower pricing, bottled water companies have also been reducing the amount of plastic in their bottles in response to public criticism that bottled water is wasteful. As an example, Pepsi’s “Eco-Fina” half-liter bottle is made with 50 percent less plastic, and in May, Coca-Cola introduced the PlantBottle, a fully recyclable plastic bottle made partially from plant material, which is being piloted with the Dasani water brand.
For the year ended July 12, U.S. sales of bottled water fell 6 percent to $7.6 billion, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc., whose figures don’t include sales from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., reports the Wall Street Journal.
However, it’s still unclear whether the price cutting can overcome bad press related to the environmental impact of plastic bottles. As an example, in the UK, a report commissioned by the Commons authorities into the Houses of Parliament’s use of bottled water found that it uses over 21,000 bottles of water each year, resulting in a carbon footprint of 12 tons, reports The Guardian.
The study, conducted by environmental consultants Best Foot Forward, finds that each year 10,000 bottles of sparkling and 11,400 bottles of still water are used in Parliament, while the associated delivery trucks tallied more than 70,000 miles over five years, according to The Guardian.
In addition, U.S. studies show that total energy required for bottled water production is as much as 2,000 times the energy cost of producing tap water, reports The Guardian.
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