Weak economies are causing consumers to tighten up on luxury spending. Families are reconsidering what is and is not essential regarding purchases that meet basic needs, but also provide some comfort at the level they are accustomed to living. Some items being considered, and reconsidered, are those that meet a basic requirement but also raise the standard of living. Food is necessary, but eating out nightly is not. Shelter is necessary, but a family of 3 living in a 4,000 square foot home is probably not. Water is necessary, but purchasing bottled water is not. As consumers consider their options for acquiring water, from the tap, bottled, delivered, filtered and other options such as vitamin enriched and flavored, the future of the bottled water industry may be on treacherous ground. Considering the improvements made to reduce the negative impact bottles make on the environment, and the vitamin-enriched and flavored options, the bottled water industry will likely be productive for the next five years.
One of the biggest hurdles that bottled water companies need to overcome is the physical impact their bottles make on the environment. Even the most environmentally unaware consumer has reason to wonder how long the bottles sit in landfills. An abundance of commercials on behalf of the major competitors for bottled water, being city purified tap water, faucter filters and filter pitchers such as the Brita water filters, has informed most consumers that the bottles their water comes in stays in landfills for decades. In a world focused on a depleted ozone layer, global warming, and increasing natural disasters, environmental concerns take the forefront in many more.
Marketers for bottled water companies can easily target the availability of recycling of their bottles. Additionally, alternatives to the plastic bottle can be considered, including glass bottles, or bottles manufactured from recycled materials, in an effort to appease the environmentally conscious. In fact, it has been shown that water requires little industrial intervention before bottling, unlike sodas which involve a combination of various chemicals and resulting in by-product emissions. Therefore, when compared to other prepared and packaged beverages, bottled water has the lightest environment impact, second to tap water which involves no bottling function.