Bottled water is just emerging as part of the fine dining experience in the United States. Bottled Water is currently in the transition from being treated as a commodity product (bottled tap water) towards water seen a natural product with a unique source. Today between 25 - 40% of bottled water sold in the US is actually bottled tap water according to government and industry estimates.
FineWaters lists more than 500 brands from 21 countries and in a conservative estimate the total number of bottled water brands today on a world wide basis is close to 3000 with Italy alone having more then 600 brands.
A survey, conducted by Synovate for FineWaters, asked 1,208 participants the following question:
There are countless varieties of wine on the market, and many fine restaurants offer lengthy wine lists. Some people are seeking an alternative to wine and are considering bottled water instead. Roughly how many different brands of water are bottled?
Survey Findings: Highlights
Overall, the overwhelming majority of consumers are simply unaware that there are a vast number of brands of bottled water. Just 3.5 percent of the total sample knew that branded bottled waters number in excess of 100.
Of the 1,000 qualified respondents, the results break out as follows:
Within this group, there are some noteworthy differences:
Despite the popularity of bottled water, younger consumers are more likely to believe there are fewer brands of bottled water than are their elders; 61 percent of those 18-24 fell into the 1-10 category, while just 46 percent of those 45-54 and those over 65 listed that few.
Those 55-64 emerged as the most "bottled water savvy" age group, though not by much (5 percent cited 101+, against 3.5 percent overall)
Those ages 25-35 were the least savvy, with just 2.5 correctly responding that the total number exceeded 100 brands
Income is also a factor in bottled water awareness: those with household incomes in excess of $75,000 were most likely to fall into the 100+ category (5.4 percent, about twice as many as any other demographic) and least likely to respond with fewer than 10 brands (at 45 percent, nearly 10 percent below the average of the other demographic groups).
Those in the Northeast exhibited the greatest level of bottled water awareness. Northeasterners were least likely to put the number of brands in the 1-10 category (45 percent vs. 52 percent for the group); some 6 percent correctly put the total above 100, more than twice as much as the rest of the sample).
Education also correlates to increased bottled water awareness; nearly 7 percent of those with post-graduate degrees placed themselves in the 100+ camp, a greater number than the other two educational categories combined; the "top education" group was least likely to go with the 1-10 category -- 44 percent, to 49 percent for those with a college degree and 57 percent of those with a high school diploma.
Being the primary grocery shopper in a household proved to be especially revealing -- not so much about the respondent but about the retail environment, where the number of brands of bottled water remains quite limited:
Responses among primary grocery shoppers:
For more information on the survey and a copy of the full study please contact the author at