A Sparkling Alternative to Soft Drinks

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Soft drink sales are on the decline. Consumption of these sugary, carbonated beverages is no longer the beverage trend to follow. Instead, the beverage industry has a new rising star: sparkling water.

The stereotype dictates that sparkling water come in a green glass bottle, served to your grandparents or the elite at fancy restaurants. Producers and consumers are throwing this stereotype out the window. Companies such as Dasani and La Croix are working to rebrand sparkling water into a hip, healthy alternative to soft drinks. And they’re succeeding.

“[Americans] are turning away from things that identify with soda and instead are turning toward things that identify with water,” says Jonas Feliciano, global beverage analyst at Euromonitor. “If I’m looking for health and I’m looking for variety, sparkling water with different flavours seems to provide that.” (Source: Jillian Berman. “Sparkling Water is the New Soda”.)

The Canadian market is on the same page.  According to Euromonitor International’s Canadapage, “cola carbonates continued to see a decline as Canadians moved towards healthier and more exciting alternatives.” Cola carbonates saw a 3% decrease in sales in 2014, with many consumers reaching instead for energy drinks, bottled water, teas and yes, sparkling water.

Sparkling water companies are popping up all over the market, with sales increasing by the day. They’ve tossed out the old green bottle and are using new exciting packaging to market their products, casting them as accessories and giving them some pizzazz with additional flavouring.

According to a report published on the Beverage Industry website, the percentage of sparkling water sales are up 20% and more on average, with the highest increase at around 90%.

In comparison, still bottled water has increases of less than 10% posted by most companies. (Source: Stephanie Cernivec. “Bottled water consumption rises: Sparkling water continues to lead category growth”.)

Which is great for the occasional purchase – and the environmentally oblivious. But these retail bottles are still made of plastic; if you’re looking to imbibe sparkling water, flavoured or not, on a regular basis, a more environmentally conscious process is needed. That’s where the home water carbonation systems and commercial sparkling water filtration systems come into play.

At-home carbonation machine companies, who have previously marketed and pushed the “make your own soft drink” concept, have shifted to focus on their carbonation machines’ ability to produce sparkling water (Berman). A mathematical study by Drew Prindle at Digital Trendsanalyzes the financial savings of using an in-home carbonation system:

  • Save $0.54 per litre of sparkling water
  • Save $0.22 per litre of soft drink (when you make your own soft drink)

In addition to saving a bit of money per litre, you also reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of plastic and glass bottles you have to put in the recycling or landfills. (Read more about the environmental impact of bottled water on our previous post.)

Restaurants, hotels, spas and more are also jumping on this trend, producing sparkling and still water at reduced cost and with reduced waste through the use of sparkling water filtration systems. Instead of bringing that familiar green bottle of flavourless sparkling water to the elite, they’re bringing decanters of sparkling and still water to anyone at the restaurant who enjoys a healthier alternative to soft drinks.

Next time you’re at the grocery store or sitting down to a nice meal at your favourite restaurant, ask for an eco-friendly still or sparkling water. You won’t be disappointed.

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