More than 3 in 5 Americans (63 percent) say bottled water (still and/or sparkling) is among their most preferred beverages, followed by coffee (62 percent), according to a national survey. 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.
The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll (theharrispoll.com) for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) of more than 3,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. Results also found that among consumers who have ever purchased bottled water, those who identify bottled water as among their most preferred beverages are more likely than those who identify soda as one of their most preferred beverages to recycle their water containers.
“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.”
Bottled water drinkers find many factors important 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. 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, and among them, 33 percent drink both bottled water and tap/filtered water equally. Roughly 3 in 10 water drinkers (31 percent) drink only/mostly bottled water. Over a third (35 percent) drink only/mostly 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.
Among those who ever purchase bottled water, 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) and away from home (37 percent vs. 32 percent). This is consistent with a 2016 PET bale analysis study 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 at 20.4 percent. The study, by the National Association of PET Container Resources, included other food and beverage containers in its analytics.
“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,” Culora added.
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 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+ (91 percent vs. 81 percent). Only 14 percent of Americans have a “somewhat” or “very” negative opinion of bottled water as a beverage choice.