Price and health concerns are pushing bottled water up to soda levels.

Deserved or not, sodas have received a considerable amount of bad publicity in recent years. Not only are soda makers facing a daily public relations battle as they try to explain away links to diabetes and obesity, but in some areas of the country legislation is cropping up aimed at holding down the sizes of soft drinks and limiting where cola machines can be placed. But most of the makers of bottled water are certainly not complaining. As the sales of soft drinks decline, bottled water sales are rising. In fact, Beverage Marketing Corporation Chief Executive Michael C. Bellas says that before the end of the decade, sales of bottled water are expected to surpass those of carbonated soft drinks. He says that the sales of water in standard lightweight plastic bottles grew at a rate of more than 20 percent every year from 1993 to 2005 until settling into single digit growth since then. When water consumption from household taps is figured in, water is actually already ahead of soda in terms of total volume consumed.

One of the factors driving the rise of water is price. Cases of 24 half-liter bottles of store-brand water can be purchased for approximately $2 these days, which averages out to only about 8 cents per bottle. Of course, this is basically tap water with a couple of minerals thrown in to justify it being sold. Do you buy bottled water, or do you usually just get it straight from the tap? If you purchase it, what are the important components of the water you buy? Do you think soft drinks will continue to lose their popularity as water becomes a bigger seller? I’d be interested in hearing from you about this topic.


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