Bottled Water Consumption More Than Doubles Since 2000, Cutting Trillions Of Calories From American Diet

by BMC Press Release
Posted On: 6/10/2016

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TAGS: vending, U.S. bottled water consumption, Beverage Marketing Corp., Michael Bellas, Bottled Water's Impact on U.S. Caloric Intake


Source: Beverage Marketing Corp. | Released June 7, 2016

New analysis shows switch to bottled water from other drinks saves the average person the caloric equivalent of 87 cheeseburgers per year

Beverage Marketing Corp.,  bottled water consumption NEW YORK CITY -- June 7 -- The tremendous rise in U.S. bottled water consumption has resulted in significant caloric savings, according to a new study from the Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC). As Americans have increasingly opted for calorie-free bottled water instead of other beverages, they have collectively cut 61 trillion to 68 trillion calories over the past 15 years (2000-2015).

"Bottled water's ascent has been driven in large part by America's move to healthier beverage choices, which has effectively resulted in calorie savings for all Americans," said Michael Bellas, BMC chairman and chief executive. "To put this in perspective, imagine a person cutting 161 hot dogs, 126 chocolate donuts or 87 cheeseburgers from their diet last year. That's the kind of difference we're talking about when we quantify the number of calories saved due to this widespread shift to bottled water."*

Growth Category

Over the past two decades, bottled water has been the leading growth category in the U.S. beverage market:

» Total volume exceeded 11.7 billion gallons in 2015, up from 4.7 billion in 2000.

» Individual bottled water consumption soared during this period, from 16.7 gallons per person in 2000 to 36.7 gallons per person in 2015. This represents a 120% increase. By contrast, all other liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs) combined declined in both total volume and individual consumption over the same time period:

» Combined volume of non-bottled water LRBs, including carbonated soft drinks, fruit beverages, energy drinks, sports beverages, ready-to-drink coffee and tea, and all forms of milk, decreased from 27 billion gallons to 25.8 billion gallons.

» Individual consumption of these beverages combined dropped from 95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons per person, a 16.3% decline.

"Bottled water already outsells, by volume, carbonated soft drinks in many U.S. cities, and we expect that it will very soon become the most consumed beverage product nationwide," noted Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corp.

Calories Saved

In an analysis of these developments, BMC attempted to quantify the calories saved by consumers over this 15-year period as they chose bottled water over other, more caloric beverages. The analysis found that:

» On average, an individual saved between 24,000 calories and 27,000 calories in 2015, compared with 2000.

» That translated to a daily savings of between 64 calories and 74 calories per person in 2015.

"Caloric savings of this magnitude is rarely achieved by any food or beverage category," added Bellas. "As health-conscious consumers continue to select bottled water in the years ahead, both they and the bottled water industry will feel the benefits of this choice."

*Based on average calorie assumptions of 151 per hot dog, 194 per chocolate donut and 280 per cheeseburger. (Source: USDA)

The complete report, "Bottled Water's Impact on U.S. Caloric Intake," can be accessed here.


BMC first gathered the total volume consumed for bottled water as well as each non-alcoholic liquid beverage category -- carbonated soft drinks, fruit beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, RTD tea, RTD coffee, value-added water as well as all forms of milk -- for each year from 2000 to 2015 using BMC's proprietary U.S. beverage databases

For the period from 2010 through 2015, the caloric value of beverage categories was calculated by performing a detailed analysis of caloric content by brand. The total caloric content of each brand was calculated by multiplying its calories per gallon by its total volume for each year. For the small volume of untracked brands, BMC used the caloric per gallon average for the identified brands as a proxy to determine these brand's calorie values. Each category's calories by brand were then summed to reach a total annual calorie count for the respective category. From this, BMC next calculated the average calories per gallon per year for each LRB category.

The average annual calories per gallon for each category were summed to determine a total non-bottled water average annual LRB per gallon calorie count.

For the period from 2000 to 2010, BMC calculated the caloric value of each non bottled water LRB category by multiplying the annual volume of each category by BMC's estimate of the average caloric content per gallon based upon a representative sample of brands for each category. Each LRB category's growth rates were utilized to carry the analysis back from 2010 to 2000. Additionally, an annual beverage caloric count for each category as well as a total annual LRB caloric count were calculated.

To calculate the annual calories saved by switching from caloric LRBs to bottled water, BMC multiplied the annual cumulative increase in bottled water per capita gallons for each year from 2000 by the average annual LRB caloric per gallon content for the respective year. Since a small amount of LRB switching may have been to new emerging categories such as coconut waters, HPP juices, cold brewed coffees or even to alcoholic beverages or tap water, BMC conservatively discounted each year's per capita LRB calorie figure before arriving at a range of caloric savings based upon consumers switching their more caloric LRB consumption to zero-calorie bottled water.

In calculating the calories saved by switching from non-water LRBs to bottled water from 2000 to 2015, BMC first compared the 15.6 gallon per capita loss in non-bottled water LRBs to bottled water's higher 20.0 gallon gain. As a consequence, the entire non-bottled water LRB per capita decline of 15.6 gallons, or 100% of the drop-off, could be accounted for by consumers switching to bottled water. However, it is likely some small percentage of these non-bottled water LRB users did not switch to bottled water, but to the new emerging LRB categories such as coconut waters, HPP juices, cold brewed coffees, etc., or even to alcoholic beverages or tap water.

To account for this volume and in an attempt to conservatively estimate the caloric savings due to consumers switching to bottled water, BMC in its analysis used two lower conversion rates for non-water LRB volume switched to bottled water of 90% and 95%. By using the lower 90% and 95% conversion rates, a high 1.17 billion to 587 million gallons, respectively, of bottled water were dropped from the analysis, more than enough volume to account for the relatively small non-water LRB volume not converting to bottled water. Finally, the remaining 4.4 per capita gallon bottled water gain not accounted for by non-bottled water LRB switchers can be attributable to bottled water sourcing volume directly from tap water, replacing tap water used to make coffee and tea, and even sourcing some volume from alcoholic beverages such as beer.

Additionally, a small percentage of bottled water is often used for other purposes such as filling a pet's water bowl or watering a plant. For this analysis, three non-bottled water conversion rates, 90%, 95% and 100%, were used to calculate the calories saved from switching to bottled water from other caloric LRB beverages.

Additional information about the methodology for this study is available here.

About: New York City-based Beverage Marketing Corp. is the leading consulting, research and advisory services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry. BMC received funding from Nestlé Waters North America to conduct this analysis.

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