Bottled Water Beats Out Coffee as Consumers' Most Preferred Beverage

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Bottled Water Beats Out Coffee as Consumers' Most Preferred Beverage

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — More than three in five Americans (63 percent) say bottled water is among their most preferred beverages, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the International Bottled Water Associations (IBWA).

Coffee comes in second with 62 percent saying it’s their preferred choice, followed by 58 Americans who say the same about soft drinks.

Nearly all Americans (94 percent) believe that bottled water is a healthier choice than soft drinks, and 93 percent say bottled water should be available wherever drinks are sold.

“This poll is consistent with consumption figures released earlier this year that show, for the first time in history, bottled water is the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States (by volume),” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications. “People are shifting away from less healthy packaged drinks and choosing the healthy option — bottled water.”

According to the survey, bottled water drinkers consider many factors when choosing a beverage, but taste (99 percent), quality (99 percent) and safety (92 percent) are at the top of their list. Bottled water drinkers also say that features like ready-to-enjoy (82 percent), convenient packaging when on the go (80 percent), and resealable packaging (74 percent) are important to them when choosing a beverage.

Other findings include:

  • Sixty-nine percent of bottled water drinkers say low calories are important when choosing a beverage, while 72 percent say the lack of artificial sweeteners is important.
  • Nearly all Americans (99 percent) drink water, whether it’s tap, filtered or bottled. Among them, 33 percent drink both bottled water and tap/filtered water equally.
  • Roughly three in 10 water drinkers (31 percent) drink only/mostly bottled water, including 16 percent who drink mostly bottled water and 15 percent who only drink bottled water.
  • More than a third (35 percent) drink only/mostly tap or filtered water, including 23 percent who drink mostly tap or filtered water, and 12 percent who drink only tap or filtered water.
  • Eighty-two percent of Americans agree they should drink more water and 90 percent believe that bottled water is a healthy and convenient beverage.

The survey also found that bottled water drinkers are more inclined to recycle their bottled water containers than those who say soda is among their most preferred beverages, as they are more likely to say they always recycle bottled water containers at home (66 percent vs. 60 percent, respectively) and away from home (37 percent vs. 32 percent). This is consistent with a 2016 PET bale analysis study conducted by the National Association of PET Container Resources that found bottled water is the number one most recycled product in curbside recycling systems, with a rate of 53.1 percent, compared to soda bottles, which was 20.4 percent.

“The new poll also found that people who own their own home report they recycle more often than renters, both at home and away from home. The poll also showed that people who were married said they recycled more often than those who were single,” added Culora.

When asked about their general opinion of bottled water as a beverage choice, 86 percent of Americans had a “very positive” or “somewhat positive” opinion of bottled water, and women are significantly more likely than men to have a positive opinion (88 percent vs. 84 percent), as well as adults ages 18-44 compared to those ages 55-plus (91 percent vs. 81 percent). Only 14 percent of Americans have a “somewhat” or “very” negative opinion of bottled water as a beverage choice.

The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of IBWA from Nov. 13-15, 2017 surveyed 3,345 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,984 are bottled water drinkers (still or sparkling) and 1,927 are soda drinkers.

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