- A new study from market research provider ZappiStore showed an array of on-pack claims made by bottled water brands is confusing for consumers, according to FoodBev Media.
- The survey revealed the phrase “purified tap water” resonated better with consumers than other descriptions, such as “iceberg water” or “alkaline infused.”
- The “vapour distilled” description, used on Coca-Cola’s SmartWater brand, was found to be confusing to 35% of Americans and nearly 30% of Britians.
There are numerous on-package claims for bottled water that consumers find confusing, most likely caused by companies trying to sound more sophisticated and entice customers to try their product in a hyper-competitive industry. But consumers are more savvy than to fall for what amounts to be pretentious-sounding labels.
The most confusing label according to the study was on Coca-Cola’s SmartWater brand, which claims its water is “vapor (or vapour) distilled.” While a Google search reveals that pretty much all water is vapor distilled, meaning it comes from clouds, it’s not something that many have heard before.
It’s up to the manufacturers whether to continue with the confusing descriptions, and as long as they are accurate, there’s not much that can be done. If they see sales slipping, maybe they will surmise it has something to do with the label as implement uniform change across the industry.
But it’s a category that remains on the rise as shoppers flee soda and other sugar drinks in favor of healthier alternatives. Bottled water surpassed carbonated soft drinks in 2016 to become the largest beverage category by volume in the U.S., according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. The firm estimated bottled water growth surged 8.6% alone in 2016 from the prior year, mirroring a recent pattern of strong increases. Aside for the years 2008 and 2009, bottled water volume increased every year from 1977 to 2016.
Grocery stores once considered bottled water to be something of a loss leader due to the amount of space it took up and low prices. But with bottled water sales now surpassing those of soda, stores are seeing profits and must make difficult choices about what to carry. Some stores are even starting to take shelf space from carbonated soft drinks and juices. For now, bottled water looks to retain its upward trajectory in the beverage space.