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2005 Bottled Water News

University of Michigan becomes 10th college to join boycott of Coke

The university, which has 50,000 students on three campuses, on Thursday stopped selling Coca-Cola products because of concerns arising from accusations about the company's treatment of workers in bottling plants in Colombia and environmental problems in India. Coke has denied all of the accusations. A Coke spokeswoman, Kari Bjorhus, said yesterday in a statement Coca-Cola was looking at ways to conduct an independent third-party study of the situation in Colombia. Labor activists have said that Coca-Cola, through its Latin American bottlers, has been complicit in the deaths of eight union leaders and in continued harassment of unionized employees. In April, the company announced the findings of a report by CSCC, a consulting firm in Los Angeles. The report, which was paid for by Coke, addressed current conditions, not the deaths, which occurred from 1989 to 2002. It found no violations or abuses of labor or human rights in Coke's bottling plants in Colombia. In India, a different group of activists have accused Coke of polluting the soil and groundwater near several bottling plants, of severely reducing groundwater levels in drought-prone areas and of failing to install adequate filtration systems that would remove pesticides from the water used to make its products. Unsatisfied, the University of Michigan and five universities that still sell Coke products have called for an independent investigation of both the Colombia and India situations. Activists are led by two groups, Corporate Accountability International and the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. Within the last year, New York University, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Santa Clara University in California, among others, have stopped selling Coke products, which include Sprite, Dasani water, Minute Maid juice and Powerade sports drinks. New York Times_ 12/31/05 (logon required)

Foreign investors eager to taste Bulgaria's bottled water industry

Wing Equity Management GmbH was cleared Tuesday by the Bulgarian anti-trust watchdog to acquire Devin, Bulgaria's biggest producer of bottled mineral water. Bulgaria's beverage, bottled water and confectionery companies seem to have replaced beer, dairy and chocolate makers as the favourite acquisition targets of foreign investors eager to position themselves on the relatively underdeveloped local market ahead of the country's expected EU accession in 2007. One of the major deals wrapped up in 2005 was the Coca-Cola buy of mineral water bottling company Bankia. Dnevnik_ 12/28/05

Enhanced bottled water's popularity has many taking the plunge
Glaceau founder and CEO Darius Bikoff conceived his first product, Smartwater, 10 years ago because he wasn't satisfied with the bottled water on the market. His company took off in 2000 when he combined vitamins with water, an idea he hit on after taking Vitamin C with Smartwater. Bikoff, 44, is the founder and CEO of Whitestone, N.Y.-based Glaceau, the company that makes Vitaminwater, Smartwater and Fruitwater. Glaceau is one of the leaders in a category known as enhanced water. Basically, that means bottled water with something added — such as flavor, fizz, vitamins, nutrients, color or electrolytes. Drink companies, including big players like Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, are interested in the enhanced water market because it is growing quickly and the margins are better than for regular bottled water. At a time when carbonated soft drink sales are fizzling, companies are searching for new growth areas. The leader in the enhanced water game is Propel Fitness Water, a flavored water with added vitamins made by Gatorade. Pepsi, which owns Gatorade, also has flavored versions of its Aquafina water, called Aquafina FlavorSplash, and is reportedly working on a fortified water called Life Water that would be part of its SoBe line. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 12/28/05 (logon required)

Bubble bursts for the real thing as PepsiCo ousts Coke from top spot

By the end of trading on Wall Street December 12, PepsiCo's market capitalisation reached $98.4 billion (£60 billion) - and the market valued rival Coca-Cola at $97.9 billion. For the first time in the history of the two companies, PepsiCo was valued more highly than its old arch enemy. The tussle for supremacy between Coca-Cola and PepsiCo is one of the great rivalries in business. The two firms remain the number one case study for marketing students on how to create a brand mythos around something as humble as brown carbonated water laced with caffeine and vegetable extracts. Fizzy drinks sales at both companies are flat in developed markets. The crucial factor in the differing fortunes of the two has been PepsiCo's diversification away from sugary carbonated drinks and the early realisation that consumers were worrying more and more about obesity and health. Today, PepsiCo has about 81% of the fast-growing sports drink market in the US. It has the number one fruit juice brand in Tropicana and the leading bottled water brand in the US, Aquafina. Guardian Unlimited_ 12/27/05

H2 whoa! Soaring bottled water sales spur new Nestle plant in Pennsylvania

The $200 million plant near Fogelsville would employ 90 workers initially and as many as 250 within a few years, the company said Wednesday. Nestle Waters North America, the nation's biggest water bottler, hopes to break ground in the spring on an 84-acre site adjacent to the current Nestle Waters plant. That plant, opened in 1996, has 310 workers. Nestle's plant would filter and purify water it buys from the Lehigh County Authority, a utility that provides water to more than 15,000 customers in western and northern Lehigh County. The water would be sold under the Nestle Pure Life brand. The brand, much of which is sold through Wal-Mart, is the company's fastest growing in a fast-flowing market. The Morning Call_ 12/22/05

Maine bottled water tax fails to qualify for ballot

Three months after organizers submitted petitions designed to force a statewide vote on taxing water extracted in Maine, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap ruled Monday that the campaign had failed to file sufficient signatures. The petitions contained 49,100 valid signatures, but citizen initiative organizers needed to obtain at least 50,519 signatures to guarantee a statewide vote by November 2006. Jim Wilfong, the ex-legislator from Stow who proposed the tax, said he was surprised and disappointed that the signature drive had fallen short but vowed to continue the campaign -- even if petition circulators have to start again from scratch. Poland Spring Bottling Co., the business that would be most affected by the tax, said it was pleased by Dunlap's determination. The plan, advanced by Wilfong's group H20 for ME, proposed taxing companies that extract, bottle and sell Maine water 3 cents for every 20 ounces extracted, or about 20 cents per gallon. AP/Boston Globe_ 12/19/05

Task force weighs Maine water extraction rules
A task force has begun reviewing Maine's groundwater regulations to determine whether additional safeguards are needed to ensure the state's world-famous water supply remains both clean and abundant.  Representatives of the bottling industry, public utilities, agricultural operations and various state agencies gathered in Augusta Tuesday for the second meeting in a year-long process to review and potentially update Maine's groundwater extraction regulations.  Legislators created the work group earlier this year in response to growing demand for - and concern about - groundwater supplies statewide.  Debate over Maine's aquifers has only intensified in recent months thanks, in large part, to a proposed ballot referendum to tax the largest bottled water companies.  Bangor News _ 12/14/05

International Bottled Water Association honored for bottled water aid to Katrina victims without waiting for officials to act

IBWA won the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Award of Excellence for 2006 for its “Bottled Water Emergency Relief” program. According to ASAE, “IBWA was selected to receive the Award of Excellence out of nearly 100 entries for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Rather than wait for the formal relief effort to become more organized, IBWA members and staff made direct contacts with officials and civic and municipal leagues in Katrina-affected towns and cities to provide bottled water to those in need.”  Press Release_ 12/12/05

Royal Spring Water receives Letter of Intent from Crystal Splash valued at over $6,000,000 for a 3-year term
Move enables Crystal Splash's expansion into school districts

Royal Spring Water Inc. (OTC; ESYY.PK), a bottler and distributor of Artesian spring water, announced today that it has received a letter of intent with a minimum 3-year contract valued at over $6,000,000 (USD). The letter was signed by the Vice President of Crystal Splash(TM).  To date, this brings the value of Royal Spring Water's LOI's to over $6,500,000 per year, and over $19,500,000 for the next 3 years.  Lahav Gabay, Vice President of Crystal Splash, said, "We are excited to have Royal Spring Water as our provider of bottled spring water enabling our expansion into school districts located in the eastern part of the United States.  Press Release_12/7/05

Book review: A hydrologist bottles up water (and history)

WELLSPRINGS: A NATURAL HISTORY OF BOTTLED WATER By Francis H. Chapelle (Rutgers University Press 280 pages, $25.95)

Francis H. Chapelle’s informative “Wellsprings” explains the whys and hows of the bottled water industry. It also gives insight into why Americans in the 21st century are so hooked on bottled water, even though most tap water today in the U.S. is safe to drink. Among the nuggets of information from Chapelle, who has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1979:

• Today, the largest-selling brand of bottled water in the U.S. — Pepsi’s Aquafina — is simply tap water that has been “purified” according to exacting standards. Ditto Coca-Cola’s Dasani.

• The average American in 2003 consumed 22.6 gallons of bottled water, making it the No. 2 nonalcoholic beverage in America, behind carbonated soft drinks.

• More bottled water is consumed in California than any other state. The State_ 12/4/05

Add Grand Lake to the list of Colorado mountain towns thinking there's money to be made from bottled water (2nd item on page)

Located at the very headwaters of the Colorado River, the resort town rarely uses even half of its allocated water. Because only Rocky Mountain National Park is located above the town, and there was never much mining in the region, the water is absent many impurities. The Sky Hi News reports preliminary planning that could yield an introductory stock of bottled water within a few months. The hope is that this Grand Lake water - no name was mentioned - could achieve the same success as other bottled waters in Colorado. Biota water comes from ice-climbing capital Ouray, while Aspen - despite its name - comes from the San Luis Valley. Summit Daily News_ 12/3/05

November, 2005

West Michigan Ice Mountain water pumping OK'd; But court orders reduced volume at Nestle plant
A controversial bottled water plant near Big Rapids Michigan may continue to pump groundwater for its Ice Mountain brand, but at reduced volumes that won’t harm streams and wetlands, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a decision released Wednesday. The court sided with environmental groups and a lower court judge who found that the Nestle Waters plant’s 400-gallon-per-minute maximum pumping rate was likely to reduce water levels and harm natural features in the area.  Detroit Free Press_11/30/05

Australian farmer hopes to enter bottled water market

Up to 50 jobs could be created if a water bottling business planned for Camperdown is approved. Ballarat man Charles Neal has applied to Southern Rural Water to extract about five million litres of ground water a year from his property. He wants to produce a bottled water to be marketed as Mount Leura Spring Water while three other drinks would also be produced on-site. Southern Rural Water licensing administration manager Mick Fennessy said several people had lodged objections about the application and that most of the concerns related to the depletion of the aquifer and whether it would have an adverse effect on neighbouring bores. Mr Fennessy said he would organise a public meeting for early January so objectors could meet with Mr Neal and resolve issues. He said five million litres of water was a small amount compared to applications for irrigation. The Warrnambool Standard_ 11/29/05

UK seeks source of fake bottled Zam Zam water with high arsenic level
Water said to be from a sacred Muslim well and found on sale in a Gloucester shop could be hazardous, say trading standards officers. The water is usually drawn from a well in Mecca. It cannot be sold from its source in Saudi Arabia, or legally imported into this country. Analyses showed the bottled water from Gloucester contained two-and-a-half times the acceptable levels of arsenic. Officials are trying to identify the source of the water. BBC News_ 11/21/05

Swiss consumers develop taste for bottled water, but local companies have hard time breaking into international market

In 1900 the Swiss drank just two litres of bottled water per person per year. This increased to 69 litres in 1990 and climbed to 118 litres in 2004. Switzerland, with its many sources of crystal-clear water, should be able to claim a strong position on the bottled water market, both domestically and internationally. But in fact very few Swiss companies who produce mineral water – with the exception of Swiss food multinational Nestlé - have managed to make an impact abroad. One major Swiss mineral water company, Valser, has already been snapped up by United States soft drinks giant, Coca Cola. Swissinfo_ 11/16/05

UK experts query environmental cost of bottled water: Potable water is 500 times cheaper than bottled water
In the week when Britain's House of Commons, home of the British parliament, was shown to be spending over £11,000 (US $20,000) on bottled water last year - water that would have cost only £25 out of the tap - experts have questioned the quality, labelling, advertising and environmental cost of the bottled stuff.  Commenting on the findings of a new report from the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), its Director, Nick Reeves, said that “Branding and bottling of water where there already exists a wholesome and safe supply of mains drinking water cannot be seen as a sustainable use of natural resources, and adds to the overall levels of waste and pollution to be managed in modern society.”  Potable water from the tap in the UK is subjected to stringent quality controls,he said, and the public is easily able to access information about its bacteriological and chemical content.  This can be done,for example, from the Drinking Water Inspectorate website ( Its price is subject to rigorous control and is, on average, 500 times lower than that of bottled waters. peopleand planet.net_11/15/05

Maine's love affair with Poland Spring water showing signs of strain
Poland Spring is a target of a statewide citizen initiative campaign to impose what is thought to be a first-in-the-nation tax on the water it draws from Maine's underground aquifers. At the same time, the company's expansion plans are running into local opposition from residents who are annoyed by tanker truck traffic and worry about their groundwater drying up. The initiative campaign has prompted Poland Spring to suspend plans to add a third Maine bottling plant to its existing facilities in Poland and Hollis. Its parent company has even warned that approval of the 20-cent-per-gallon tax could force Poland Spring to abandon the state. AP/ABC News_ 11/12/05

UK bottled water: From heifers to Harrods
A farming couple from Cornwall in the UK landed a contract to supply the spring water it gives to its cows to Harrods. Colin and Pauline Dyer run their bottled water business, Just Water, alongside their 150-strong dairy herd at Trekillick Farm near Bodmin. Mr Dyer said they put in a borehole about 20 years ago to provide water for the cows but started bottling and selling it three years ago. Mr Dyer said: "If it's good enough for my cows it's good enough for people." BBC News_ 11/4/05

October, 2005

Tennessee appeals court rules state can't tax bottled water

A three-judge panel said Tuesday that bottled water is more like fruit juice, cider and other "naturally occurring substances" that are tax exempt, than it is Coke, Pepsi or even soda water. The ruling affects 15 licensed water bottlers in Tennessee and six dairy processors with the capability to filter and package spring water. AP/Southern Standard_ 10/27/05

French food giant Danone prepares to launch bottled water brand for under 24s

As reports of contamination in a top bottled water brand are investigated, Britain's biggest suppliers are reportedly preparing to launch a major new brand at under 24s. But why are we turning our backs on the tap? With some 250 brands crowding the shelves, there's no shortage of choice for those who like to sip, gulp or swig their water from a designer source. French food giant Danone, which already owns one of Britain's top bottled water brands, Evian, is rumoured to be planning a major launch of a new water in the new year, aimed at under 24s. A quick comparison of the prices and one might deduce the bottled water firms have pulled off something close to modern-day alchemy. The average daily cost for an entire household's water - from the tap to the loo flush, and everything in between - is 68 pence, exactly the same as the typical supermarket price of a two-litre bottle of Evian. At these prices, a family of four could expect to shell out almost £1,000 a year on bottled water if they were each drinking their recommended daily two-litre intake. BBC News_ 10/25/05

Naphthalene found in Danone Volvic water bottle - BBC

A potentially harmful chemical, naphthalene, has been found in some bottles of Groupe Danone's Volvic water, reported the BBC's Working Lunch program. Working Lunch commissioned a laboratory to test a water bottle, after a viewer drew two bottles to their attention after discovering that they both tasted strongly of chemicals, and separated into 'little pools'. Danone said it is 'actively investigating the exact cause of this problem.' However, it added that this is an 'isolated incident and no other complaints have been received from the same batch of product and remaining samples have been checked.' AFX/Forbes_ 10/24/05

Coca-Cola Co. profit rises on international sales

The world's largest soft-drink company reported a 37 percent jump in third-quarter profit on healthy sales growth in China, Mexico and other international markets, beating Wall Street forecasts. Analysts have said a key to Coca-Cola's future is capturing more consumers who have moved away from sugary soft drinks to diet versions or to healthier low- or no-calorie beverages such as water and orange juices with reduced sugar. Reuters_ 10/21/05

UK arsenic warning on 'sacred' water
Water said to be from a sacred Muslim well has been taken off shop shelves, for containing high levels of arsenic. A complaint was made that bottles said to be Natural Zam Zam Water were on sale in central London. Genuine Zam Zam water is only sold in Saudi Arabia. Analysis showed the water had high levels of nitrate and three times the permitted levels of arsenic. No other shops were found selling the product, but Westminster Council's investigation led to a national recall. BBC News_ 10/21/05

Maine bottled water companies worried about tax on water

'Crippling tax' would apply to water drawn from Maine aquifers for sale as bottled water

Some small companies that sell spring water in Maine fear they'll be hurt and possibly driven out of business by a proposed tax targeting the nation's biggest bottled spring water company. The tax, which could to go to a referendum vote next year, surfaced as a response to the rapid expansion of Poland Spring. Poland Spring would pay $100 million a year under the proposed tax of 20 cents per gallon of water drawn from the ground. But many of the two dozen smaller bottled water companies in Maine, some of which would pay nothing under the terms of the tax, are as firmly opposed to the new fee as is Poland Spring, a Nestle subsidiary with nationwide distribution. The proposed tax would apply to water drawn from Maine aquifers for sale as bottled water. The tax, which would only apply to sales in excess of 500,000 gallons a year, would be used to fund an independent board to oversee and monitor the state's aquifers.  Times Argus_10/20/05

Danone sales lifted by bottled water
French food group Danone posted a 4.2 percent rise in nine-month sales on Wednesday, lifted by bottled water sales, and reaffirmed its sales and earnings per share (EPS) outlook for the year. The maker of Danone yogurts, Evian mineral water and LU biscuits added in a statement that its operating margin would increase by "at least 20 basis points." Previously, the firm had forecast margin growth in a 20 to 40 basis point range. Reuters_ 10/19/05

UK warning over 'Mecca' bottled water sales

Brands of a religious water being sold to Muslim worshippers in Barnsley are not the genuine product, say trading standards officers. Zam Zam water is usually drawn from a well in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by pilgrims making their trip to the city. Officers have had complaints from Muslim organisations about the so-called "Natural Zam Zam Water". Saudi Arabia's embassy said the genuine water from the well cannot be exported or sold commercially anywhere. Trading standards officers say the so-called "Natural Zam Zam Water", which comes in 0.5 and 0.25 litre plastic bottles, contains nitrate levels beyond the limits for natural mineral water, spring water and bottled drinking water. BBC News_ 10/17/05

Great Lakes bottled water exports OK under proposed compromise

Bottled water from the Great Lakes basin could be shipped elsewhere for sale unless prohibited by state law under a compromise water protection blueprint crafted by an industry coalition and an environmentalist group.  The National Wildlife Federation and the Council of Great Lakes Industries included the provision in a package of suggested changes to a water use agreement that the region's eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces have been haggling over since 2001. With a December deadline approaching, state and provincial officials asked the two groups -- representing interests often sharply at odds -- to seek common ground on issues that have been holding up a settlement.  Detroit Free Press_10/12/05

Newly-formed Primo Water an increasing presence in North Carolina stores

Primo Water Corp., of Winston-Salem, is available in bottles of 3 gallons and 5 gallons, which are used with home and office water coolers. Consumers exchange their empty Primo Water bottles for full ones at Primo Water displays at retail stores. Primo Water reuses or recycles the empty bottles it collects. Primo Water was introduced in May. The privately held company was started by Billy Prim, who also founded Blue Rhino Corp., a propane-tank exchange company. Blue Rhino went public in 1998, and it was bought by Ferrellgas Partners LP in April 2004 for $343 million. In North America, the bottled-water industry generated about $13 billion in revenue last year, according to Jennifer O'Grady of Frost & Sullivan, a consulting company based in Palo Alto, Calif. The largest portion of that total - $9.3 billion - was derived from sales of single-serve bottles, according to O'Grady. Winston-Salem Journal_ 10/5/05

September, 2005

Danone shares fall on talk of bid for Dutch rival Numico, Danone denies report

A report cited an analyst note saying the French food group may buy Dutch rival Numico to bar a rumored bid from U.S. PepsiCo. French magazine Challenges said Natexis analysts bet on a takeover of Numico following a "private visit" to Danone. Danone said it was not bidding for Numico. With a market value of 6.3 billion euros, babyfood maker Numico is about a quarter the size of Danone, the owner of Evian mineral water, Lu biscuits and a variety of dairy brands. Danone's future has become a political issue because of French fears that it would lose its independence. Reuters_ 9/30/05

Petitions turned in to force vote on a Maine bottled water tax

A referendum question asking voters to impose a tax of nearly 20 cents on each gallon of bottled water taken from Maine wells may be on the ballot in November 2006. Supporters of "An Act to Preserve Maine's Drinking Water Supply" said they delivered petitions with 51,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office on Friday afternoon, less than an hour before their deadline. That's about 500 more names than needed to put the referendum on the ballot, though the signatures still must be validated. The proposal to tax groundwater sets the stage for a battle between grass-roots organizers of the referendum and Poland Spring, the only bottled water company in Maine large enough to be affected by the proposal. Portland Press Herald/Maine Today_ 9/24/05

California's Glacier Water Services expands into Canada with agreement to purchase Gestion Bi-Eau Pure Inc.

Glacier announced it agreed to acquire Gestion for approximately USD $1.2 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities. Gestion Bi-Eau Pure, Inc., a privately held Canadian corporation headquartered in Quebec, Canada, with annual revenues of $2.4 million, is the largest water vending company in Quebec and operates approximately 450 water vending machines. These machines will complement the over 15,000 water vending machines Glacier currently operates in 40 states throughout the United States. Press Release/CNNMatthews_ 9/23/05

Bottled water cited as contributing to cavity comeback

Tooth decay is making a comeback, fueled by junk food, spurred by social changes, and abetted by an unusual culprit - bottled water. "It's not the water that's causing the decay," said Jack Cottrell, D.D.S., president of the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). "It's the lack of fluoride." The bottled water issue was raised at the World Dental Congress in Montreal, Dr. Cottrell said, as part of a general discussion about what to do about the sudden rise in tooth decay in children. The problem is that people are turning away from tap water - which for over two-thirds of Americans contains all of the fluoride that they need to prevent tooth decay - and most bottled waters don't have enough fluoride. MedPage Today_  9/19/05

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs ban on sodas in high schools

The legislation is part of an effort to stem teen obesity. The new law allows milk, drinks with at least 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice and drinking water without sweetener. It would be phased in from 2007 and take full effect in 2009. Reuters_ 9/15/05

Michigan Democrats want to require approval to bottle, ship Great Lakes water

Businesses that want to sell Great Lakes water by bottling it or sending it to thirsty states through pipelines would have to get legislative approval under a package of bills to be announced Tuesday by Democrats in the Michigan House. One bill would set a civil fine ranging from $25,000 to $3 million for violating the water sales standard. Violators also could have their facility shut down temporarily or permanently. Other bills would allow residents to petition the governor to request a ban on the diversion or exportation of water. The measures could affect the Ice Mountain Spring Water plant in Mecosta County.Ice Mountain's parent company, Nestle Waters North America Inc., is challenging a state requirement in federal and state court that it sell water from the city of Evart only within the Great Lakes basin. AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune_ 9/12/05

Naperville, Illinois school floats ban on imported water bottles

Principal Jim Caudill has proposed banning bottled water not bought from Central High's vending machines in hopes that it will reduce the incidence of alcohol use by students during the school day. The school didn't have a significant problem with students drinking during the school day until the past two years, when the number of instances increased with the fad of carrying water bottles, Caudill said. Chicago Sun-Times_ 9/12/05

IBWA promotes staff member Robert Hirst to vice president

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is pleased to announce that Robert Hirst has been promoted to Vice President, Education, Science, and Technical Relations. Prior to coming to IBWA in 1998, Mr. Hirst was the Laboratory and Water Resources Director at AquaPenn Spring Water Company, based in Pennsylvania with plants also in Florida and California. Press Release_ 9/8/05

Legislators to bar soda in California high schools

California high schools will ban carbonated soda under legislation approved by the state assembly Thursday as part of an effort to combat teen obesity. The bill allows milk, drinks with at least 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice and drinking water without sweetener. It would be phased in from 2007 and take full effect in 2009. The measure needs final approval in the state senate, which already voted in favor of it in May. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former bodybuilding champion who preaches the need for a healthy diet, has said he would sign the measure. Reuters_ 9/2/05

August, 2005

English water company taps into bottled water to promote health benefits of tap water
Northumbrian Water has given the bottles free to a variety of outlets throughout the region.

The 500ml bottles have proved so popular that another bottling order has been placed. The product is described as 'still table water' and is branded under the label of '97', reflecting the 97 tests the water goes through. This includes treatment from the raw material to the final product to the firm's 2.6 million customers. Around 70 different outlets have been supplied with the bottles, including fun run organiser, rambling groups, council events, schools and sporting tournaments. BBC News_ 8/24/05

Utilities tout tap water vs. bottled

With the public's insatiable thirst for bottled water, municipal water utilities are tapping into the market to fight competition from profit-making companies. The utilities' message to consumers: Our product is as good as what's found on store shelves - and less expensive. The utilities hope to make a few bucks and help their ratepayers in the process.

"People should not have to spend an exorbitant amount for quality water," said Ken Blomberg, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, which promotes the sale of bottled municipal water as a less-expensive alternative to the commercially bottled product.  Washington Post_8/12/05

New Hampshire Governor asks for federal review of proposed water bottling operation

Gov. John Lynch has asked for a federal review of the proposed USA Springs water bottling operation to make sure it does not adversely impact wetlands.  USA Springs attorney Edward Mosca said the Army Corps of Engineers has already looked at the project. He also questioned the timing of the governor's request and called it a "cheap political stunt." Lynch's spokeswoman countered that the governor is protecting the state's natural resources. 

Fosters Online_8/12/05

100,000-gallon water-pumping proposal stirs Levy opposition

A proposed water-pumping operation has pitted tanker trucks against horse-drawn carriages in this Levy County farm town.  A Miami couple is proposing to pump up to 100,000 gallons of groundwater per weekday on their Morriston property, filling a dozen or more tanker trucks that would bring the water to South Florida to be bottled.

Some residents fear the operation would damage the rustic character of the community and its burgeoning reputation as a horse-and-carriage riding mecca.  "With the water going, the county gets absolutely nothing back," said Brian Love, who owns a farm near the proposed drilling site.  The property owners, Louis and Zobeida Bello, run a game-vending business in Miami. Zobeida Bello said studies show their project won't drain local wells or reduce property values, so she doesn't understand why people care if she takes the water out of the county.  "I don't know what they have against South Florida," she said.  Gainesville Sun_8/7/05

Starbucks takes up cause for safe drinking water
When it comes to cool, cause-related marketing, water is hot.

Starting today, Starbucks will try to sell consumers on the idea of helping to clean up the world's water supply when it begins rolling out Ethos bottled water in its 5,000 U.S. stores. The company plans to donate $10 million over the next five years for clean-water sources in poor countries.  "More and more marketers are looking for ways to appeal to consumers on an emotional level by indicating that they support the sorts of causes that consumers support," says David Hessekiel, president at Cause Marketing Forum, a non-profit group that connects marketers with causes.  Ethos touts its purpose of 'Helping children get clean water.'  Nearly 20% of the world's people lack safe drinking water and about 4,500 children under age 5 die daily of resulting illness. Such statistics make water easy to support, Hessekiel says. "If you think about issues to do with the environment and resources, (water) is a very terrific and uniting issue compared to oil or energy policy."  USA Today_8/3/05


July, 2005

Experts help wade through bottled water choices

"Everybody's got their own thing and a lot has to do with taste."

Mineral or filtered? Spring or tap? Vitamin or fruit infused? Still or sparkling? In a compostable bottle, returning profits to charity or changing the body's internal vibrations?  It's a lot of water to swallow.  After carbonated drinks, bottled water is the second- most-popular beverage in the United States, accounting for about $8 billion in sales in 2004, according to market researcher Mintel International.  Consumers say convenience, taste and health concerns drive them to the bottled-water aisle, even though a liter of top-shelf spring water costs about as much as 1,000 gallons from the average kitchen sink.  Daily Democrat Online_7/31/05

Hurricanes pay off for Alabama bottled water producer

Mineola Water donation spreads the word on taste
David Forbes' small acquifer-based Mineola Water company was growing  but after donating thousands of gallons of water to Florida hurricane relief efforts last year, the business has really taken off.  "People started calling us to thank us for bringing the water and telling us they loved the taste," Forbes said. "And after Ivan hit, we learned a lesson, too. We developed a program we call Source 1. Those (Source 1 stores) are the places that stock emergency supplies, and those are the places we will service first as water depots.  "Last season was a wake-up call. Now we have a half-million gallons ready to ship should another storm threaten. And the Source 1 stores can only charge $1 a gallon. Most charge only 88 cents."  Miami Herald _ 7/25/05 log on required

Functional water struggles to escape niche sectors
'A bit too niche?'  

Britain and France are leading launches of functional, bottled water in Europe, yet the trend remains in the grip of niche sectors and still below flavour in the R&D priority list of the big players, analysists report.  There has been a steady trickle of new bottled water products positioned as having functional qualities over the last year, with botanical, herbal and fruit ingredients the most commonly used, according to Mintel’s Global New products Database (GNPD).  Danone, the world’s largest bottled water producer, was one of the most high profile examples, launching its Volvic Revive, fortified with vitamins and minerals to speed up rehydration after sport, in the UK last year.  Nestlé Waters, Danone’s main rival in bottled water, told functional water was “not a big focus at the moment. It is an interesting market but it’s still a bit too niche."  Beverage Daily_ 7/25/05

UK bottled water sales bubble

Health concerns have helped sales of bottled water increase by 50% in five years to just under 2bn litres, creating an industry worth £1.57bn a year, according to a study by analysts Mintel. But 29% of adults will not buy bottled water because they say tap water is just as good.   Guardian Unlimited_7/20/05

Indian photographer faces suit over Coke billboard

An Indian photographer has been threatened with legal action by beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. for displaying one of his photographs -- depicting water shortages against a backdrop of the company's ubiquitous logo -- on a giant billboard. The wholly-owned Indian subsidiary of the Atlanta based company has asked well-known photographer Sharad Haksar to remove the billboard and make an unconditional apology or face a legal suit and damages claim of 2 million rupees ($46,000). The billboard, which is 20 feet by 30 feet (seven metres by nine metres) in size, shows a line of plastic pots under a dry hand pump, a common scene in Indian villages and towns, where water is scarce. In the background is the familiar Coke logo with tagline, 'Drink Coca-Cola.' "It's an infringement of our trademark, but we respect Haksar's right to creative expression and have been in discussions with him," said a Coke spokesman. "We hope to settle the issue amicably," he said. Haksar, who rents a billboard on a busy arterial road in the southern city of Madras to showcase his work by often highlighting a social issue, said he would not remove the billboard and will go to court if necessary. Reuters_ 7/17/05

Coca-Cola Co. restructuring is bearing fruit - analysts

Coke, which has spent the past year and a half retooling to meet new consumer tastes, is starting to make some headway with Wall Street but it is not out of the woods yet, analysts said. The world's largest soft drink maker has been working to boost sluggish sales while combating a consumer revolt against regular soft drinks and other sugar-laced, high-calorie products that have been Coca-Cola's bread and butter. The positive comments about Coca-Cola came after the company gave a presentation to analysts in Orlando, Florida. Executives said Coke planned to focus on categories such as bottled water, sports drinks, energy drinks and diet carbonated soft drinks. Reuters_ 7/1/05

June, 2005

World’s cleanest bottled water receives kosher for Passover symbol

The Orthodox Union kosher for Passover symbol, has recently been added to the Penta water packaging. This means Penta not only meets the strict, year-round dietary kosher regulations of the Jewish law, but also the special preparation requirements for Passover.  Penta water’s packaging recently began featuring the kosher for Passover symbol. Penta, regarded by many as having set the industry standard for bottled water quality with its 11-hour, 13-step purification process, uses no chemical additives to clean its water. Penta averages 0.5 parts per million of total dissolved solids, making it the cleanest-known bottled water on the market. _  6/29/05

Price cuts make for a summertime water fight
Volume up; price down

In an aggressive attempt to build market share, beverage companies are engaged in a heated price war this summer. With the cutthroat pricing comes the danger of further eroding profits in the segment. In addition, beverage companies are further conditioning consumers to shop on price rather than by brand in the category.  "The water industry continues to realize robust volume growth and softer price realization," said Morgan Stanley analyst Bill Pecoriello.  Supermarket scanner data show water industry volume growth up 30.3% as pricing fell 4.7% last month, Pecoriello said.   MarketWatch _ 6/28/05

Bottled-water deal leaves California town awash in controversy
When the McCloud Community Services District struck a water deal with Nestle Waters North America, the town was suddenly awash in controversy. The usual small-town skirmishes erupted into a full-fledged culture war between an old-guard establishment and a rising new gentry of property owners battling over the course McCloud should take in its struggle to survive.  For many in town, the deal provides a future. Nestle says it will create as many as 240 jobs, perhaps more. In its first six years, the company estimates it will pump $25.5 million into the local economy.  Critics, however, accused the district of rushing into a bad deal, of being unconcerned about potentially depleting the town's springs and aquifers, and of ceding the community's future to an international conglomerate.   The Boston Globe_6/26/05

Water war is brewing: What cost market share?
Pepsi cuts prices, forcing Coke and Nestlé to rethink their strategy in slim-profit sector

Even as Americans continue to buy more and more bottled water, retail prices are eroding, chiefly when it comes to multipacks sold in supermarkets. That's good news for price-conscious consumers but troublesome for beverage makers, thanks to slimmer profit margins.  For the major players in water — Pepsico, Coca-Cola and Nestlé — the question is what to do. Preserve prices? Or cut back in a bid to snag market share?  Atlanta Journal Constitution _ 6/21/05 Log On Required

Nestle Waters North America Inc. sues Michigan over restrictions on Great Lakes water

Nestle filed a complaint in Ingham County Circuit Court and a federal lawsuit in Grand Rapids, contesting the requirement that water from the city of Evart be sold only within the Great Lakes basin. The action affects Nestle's Ice Mountain Spring Water plant in Mecosta County. Company officials said restricting distribution to the Great Lakes basin would severely limit its ability to compete with other bottled-water brands. Late last month, Gov. Jennifer Granholm slapped a moratorium on new or expanded bottled water operations in Michigan until the Legislature enacts a water withdrawal law. Detroit Free Press_ 6/17/05

Michigan governor's action gets attention of Maine water campaign

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's moratorium on new or expanded bottled water operations in that state until its Legislature passes a water withdrawal law drew praise from leaders of a campaign in Maine to impose a tax on water extractions.  Granholm ordered the moratorium May 27 following approval by state environmental regulators of a permit for Nestle Waters North America Inc. to buy water from a city's municipal system for bottling.  Granholm's action, combined with concerns about a contract Maine has negotiated with Nestle's, underscores the importance of having a policy to protect state water resources, said Jim Wilfong, leader of H2O for ME.  Detroit Free Press _6/7/05

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC) completes buyout of Bulgarian mineral water firm Bankia

It's CCHBC's third acquisition this year. The Greek bottler announced the deal in April. Bankia, with production facilities in Sofia, has a 16 percent share of Bulgaria's mineral water market. CCHBC, in partnership with Coke, bought Serbian bottler Vlasinka for 9.2 million euros and Russian juice producer Multon for 191.4 million in April. Reuters_ 6/2/05

May, 2005

More municipal water utilities bottling their water

A growing number of municipal water utilities are tapping into the bottled water market to fight the flood of competition from profit-making companies.  The utilities' message to consumers is that their product is as good as what's found on store shelves and less expensive. They hope to make a few bucks and help their ratepayers in the process.

Up to 70 percent of bottled water sold commercially comes from a municipal tap. 

Kansas City Star_5/22/05 logon required

City proud of water, taps into bottling market
Look out Perrier, Evian and Poland Spring - the city of Davison, Michigain, aims to make a splash in the bottled water market.  The city has 14,400 half-liter bottles of water purified by its recently opened water treatment plant, available to community groups to sell at summer events as a fund-raiser.  "We figured this is how we'd celebrate the plant's opening," said Colleen Hackney, Davison's community development director. "We're christening the plant with water bottles instead of a wine bottle."  The Flint Journal_5/19/05 logon required

Bottled water with health benefits floods Japan
The current health boom in Japan is having a ripple effect on the bottled water industry and sending many beverage makers scrambling to offer products with added health benefits.  Some bottled water contains minerals but others also include ingredients like dietary fiber.  Beverage makers are starting to pitch products that are easy to drink and not too sweet, and they expect the health boom will give their products a lift.  Japan Today_5/20/05

Unscientific water taste-test pits municipal against bottled
Can you tell the difference between bottled water and the stuff that comes out of your tap?  Local Tennessee utility officials hope not.  But in an unscientific water taste test conducted recently by the Bristol Herald Courier, two brands of store-bought water easily bested their municipal competition.  Tri-Cities.com_5/18/05

Profits at PepsiAmericas Inc. rise slightly on strong growth in U.S. sales of bottled water and acquisition of a rival bottler

PepsiAmericas, the second-largest bottler of Pepsi drinks, acquired Central Investment Corp., which had been the seventh largest Pepsi bottler, for $340 million. The volume of products sold in the United States, the company's largest market, rose 1 percent, excluding the effect of the acquisition. Sales of noncarbonated beverages, which have been popular with health conscious consumers, rose 11.3 percent. Sales of Aquafina bottled water rose by 25 percent. Reuters_ 4/26/05

Greek Coke bottler's two recent buys cost 202 million euros ($263.9 million)

Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co., the world's second-largest bottler of Coca Cola products by sales bought jointly with Coca Cola Co. the Russian juice company Multon and Serbian water bottler Vlasinka earlier this month. The U.S. company holds a 24 percent stake in CCHBC. The two companies together paid $501 million (385.5 million euros) for Multon, with CCHBC's share amounting to $250.5 million, the bottler said in its online annual report. CCHBC said it paid 9.2 million euros for Vlasinka, which cost a total of 18.3 million euros. Reuters_ 4/26/05

Bottled Water: More than just a story about sales growth

Newly released statistics by Beverage Marketing Corporation show U.S. bottled water sales and consumption continuing to rise, as consumers increasingly choose bottled water over other commercial beverages, the International Bottled Water Association said in a news release. This upward trend was reflected in 2004 bottled water volume of nearly 6.8 billion gallons, an 8.6 percent increase over 2003, and a 2004 bottled water per capita consumption level of 23.8 gallons, compared to 22.1 gallons per capita the previous year. However, consumers should also know that bottled water safety and quality result from multiple layers of regulation and standards at the federal, state and industry levels. Press Release_ 4/25/05

French food company Danone reaches agreement with world's largest soft drinks maker, Coca-Cola Co., on distribution of bottled water in the U.S.

Danone issued a statement saying its existing arrangement with Coca-Cola would be amended to increase by about 20 percent the amount spent on advertising and promoting Danone's Evian mineral water brand in the United States. Danone also said Coca-Cola would buy for an undisclosed cash amount all of Group Danone's interest in their CCDA joint venture, making Coca Cola the sole owner of CCDA's business. CCDA was established in 2002 to produce and sell Danone's U.S. domestic retail bottle water products that include the Dannon and Sparkletts brands, which CCDA will continue to sell, Danone said. Reuters_ 4/22/05

Coca-Cola Co. vows to change perception abroad

At his first annual meeting since taking over the Atlanta-based company's top post, chief executive Neville Isdell said Coke has not done anything wrong in Colombia and India, noting that government inquiries in Colombia have dismissed accusations that Coke was complicit in the deaths of several union workers at Coke bottling plants by failing to protect workers there. He also said a high court in India has sided with Coke over accusations that some of Coke's plants in India have depleted local groundwater. "As long as anyone continues to believe these allegations, we're going to take them seriously" and work to change people's perceptions, Isdell said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/19/05

European Union OKs acquisition of Russian juice-maker Multon by the Coca-Cola Co. and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co.

Financial details weren't disclosed. Analysts have estimated the deal to be worth $650 million (507 million euros). The cost of the purchase will be equally split between Coca-Cola HBC, the world's third-largest bottler of Coke products, and Coca-Cola, which owns 24 percent of the Greek bottler. With 25 percent of the market, Multon is the third-largest juice producer in Russia. It had 2004 revenue of $336 million (260 million euros). AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/18/05

Greek Coke bottler Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. eyes cooperation with water utility EYDAP

EYDAP is interested in expanding into bottled mineral water, Coca Cola Hellenic's CEO Doros Constantinou said in an interview in the Greek paper Kathimerini. The world's second-largest bottler of Coca Cola products by sales and 24-percent owned by Coca Cola has said it aims to boost its presence in the mineral water market. It has a 14.6 percent share of the Greek water market. Analysts said total annual sales of mineral water in the country stands at about 1 billion litres. Reuters_ 4/18/05

Maine eyes 4-cent-per-gallon tax on bottled water

State Rep. Robert Duplessie, the sponsor of the bill, says Maine taxpayers should get compensated by companies that sell one of the state's natural resources for a profit. The tax would generate an estimated $35 million to $40 million a year, and Duplessie suggests the money should be given to state environmental agencies. But opponents told a Natural Resources Committee hearing water is a renewable resource that is monitored by those who bottle it. The bill drew opposition from the Crystal Spring Water Co. in Auburn, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the International Bottled Water Association, the Northeast Bottled Water Association, the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and Poland Spring, the state's largest bottled water company. AP/Times Argus_ 4/17/05

Greece's Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co., Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. buy Serbian mineral water company Vlasinka

The 100 percent acquisition of Vlasinka includes production facilities at Surdulica in southern Serbia and the mineral water brand Rosa, the company said. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the cost of the purchase will be equally split between Coca Cola HBC and The Coca-Cola Co. The move is in line with the Greek company's strategy of expanding into the non-carbonated drinks sector. Coca Cola HBC has operations in 26 countries, including many parts of Europe and Russia. The Coca-Cola Co. has an indirect, 24 percent stake in the Greek bottler. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/15/05

Starbucks Corp. buys Ethos Water, privately held company that donates part of its profits to humanitarian water projects

The purchase price wasn't disclosed. Ethos Water will be available in company-owned Starbucks coffee shops in the United States later this year. Starbucks said it plans to meet Ethos Water's goal of donating $250,000 by the end of fiscal 2005 to support water projects in developing countries. The company also plans to donate an additional $1 million by the end of fiscal year 2006, it said. Reuters_ 4/11/05

Greece's Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and the Coca-Cola Co. acquire Bulgarian mineral water firm Bankia

No price was disclosed. CCHBC said Bankia's assets include production facilities outside Sofia and the Bankia natural mineral water brand. Reuters 4/4/05

March, 2005

Nestle Waters overhaul to start without Perrier

Nestle Waters will implement planned restructuring at its French Vittel and Contrex sites, but will not include the Perrier site for now, where union opposition has held up the plan. Individual subsidiaries would make it easier for Nestle to secure approval for its rationalisation plans, as part of which it is offering early retirement by 2007 to employees aged 55 and older. Nestle has been trying to trim costs at its French water businesses but has run into resistance from the CGT union, which launched a court case against it. Reuters_ 3/30/05

California judge blocks rural village's plan to sell spring water to Nestle North America Waters as supply for its Arrowhead bottled water

The decision by Siskiyou County Judge Roger Kosel effectively halts the village of McCloud's efforts to sell water to Nestle for a proposed $120 million water bottling plant that supporters said would revitalize the former lumber town at the base of Mount Shasta. A group known as Concerned McCloud Citizens had sued after learning the deal would give Nestle, the world's largest food and beverage company, up to 521 million gallons of the town's drinking water for as little as $300,000 a year. The 50-year deal could be extended for a century with little control by the unincorporated town. The judge said the district abused its discretion by not performing a review of the project's environmental impact before sealing the deal. AP/Business Week_ 3/24/05

Paris' water officials battle the bottle; Pierre Cardin gives local tap water style
The Paris municipality has started distributing free designer carafes in a bid to convince Parisians that tap water is just as good as mineral water. Recent polls revealed that 51% of Parisians drink bottled water. The glass decanters have been created by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and carry the logo of public water company Eau de Paris and the Eiffel Tower. BBC News_ 3/22/05

Buhl, Minnesota bottled water company expands, aims at becoming Evian of the Midwest

At a time when water bottled in France and Fiji is routinely sold in the United States, shipping water from the Iron Range town of Buhl to New York may not be such a wild idea. The water comes from an underground aquifer that's 700 or 1,000 feet deep, depending on who you ask. The city has been drawing water from the aquifer since 1901, and selling it for close to 20 years. AP/Miami Herald_ 3/14/05

Coca-Cola Co., Danone working out future of their U.S. bottled water partnership

The companies have operated a joint venture that markets and distributes Dannon and several other water brands in the United States since 2002. But there is growing speculation in the beverage industry that Danone wants to exit this market. Danone holds a 49-percent stake and Coca-Cola owns the remaining 51 percent of the venture. A buyout could give the Atlanta-based soft drink maker a firmer footing against Nestle and PepsiCo Inc., its main competitors in the fast-growing $11-billion U.S. bottled water market. Swiss-based food giant Nestle, which already markets Perrier, Poland Spring and other water brands in North America, is the market leader in the United States. It had a 38.3 percent market share in 2003, according to Beverage Digest. Coca-Cola and Danone together had 22.5 percent, while PepsiCo claimed 14.5 percent. Reuters_ 3/9/05

Reuters' Interview: Nestle Waters says time running out on Perrier

Nestle would prefer not to sell its French Perrier mineral water business but time is running out to resolve a conflict with a labor union over productivity levels there, says Carlo Donati, the new head of its waters business. Nestle Waters, also home to other French-based brands Vittel and Contrex, has been trying to cut costs across these businesses as well as the Perrier operation in Vergeze but ran into resistance from a labor union, which has launched a court case against it. A ruling is expected on March 15 on the issue of whether Nestle can go ahead with a plan to split the French operations into autonomous subsidiaries. Reuters_ 3/8/05

Parched village in India sues to shut tap at Coke; Plant drains groundwater, village elders contend

Sometime this month, the high court of the southern state of Kerala is expected to rule whether village elders in Plachimada, a village of about 30, 000 inhabitants, exceeded their power by denying water to the mega-corporation. If the court decides it has not, the decision could be a rallying cry in other drought-stricken states where peasant farmers are blaming Coca-Cola Co. for siphoning off badly needed water, activists say. If Coca-Cola loses its appeal this month, it may have to shut down its $25 million plant for good. David Cox, Coca-Cola Asia's communications director said drought is the major culprit, not the Coke plant. He also says his company is being demonized by anti-globalization activists and points out that a nearby Indian brewery, which he says uses more water than Coke's Plachimada plant, has been left alone by activists. San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/7/05

February, 2005

International Bottled Water Assn. and U.S. Forest Service unveil  conservation resource tool

The new educational conservation tool is designed to promote awareness of the importance of healthy watersheds, and other vital information about clean water sources. "Water ... Our Most Important Resource" is an interactive "flash" presentation explaining the hydrological cycle, the importance of forested watersheds, and environmental stewardship. It details how much water various commercial and public enterprises use, and outlines steps to protect and sustain water resources. AMonline_ 2/28/05


Coca-Cola Co. and Greek firm Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. buy Serb water bottler Vlasinka for 21.5 million euros ($28.1 million)

Coca-Cola's arrival in Serbia marks the second significant foreign investment in the water bottling sector after UK-based hedge fund FPP Balkan Ltd. last December acquired the leading domestic brand, Knjaz Milos, for around 54 million euros. The acquisition includes the mineral water brand Rosa. Fully-owned by Simpo of Vranje, a furniture producer run by former Serbian deputy Prime Minister Dragan Tomic, Vlasinka in 1998 pioneered non-carbonated water bottling in Serbia, where all bottled water previously was carbonated. Reuters_ 2/21/05

Danone denies Le Monde newspaper report that it's ending its bottled water deal with Coca-Cola

Shares in Danone, which had been trading at a 32-month high of 74 euros on hopes the situation would be resolved, shed part of their gain on the news. Danone, maker of yoghurts, biscuits and mineral waters headed by the Evian brand, has a joint venture with Coca-Cola for distributing Sparkletts and Dannon Water in the United States. It also has a separate agreement with Coca-Cola for distributing Evian. Le Monde said Danone and Coca-Cola had ended their association in the United States, with Coca-Cola set to buy 49 percent of its venture with Danone. Coca-Cola, which held a board meeting on Thursday, has made no announcement about its agreements with the French food group. Reuters_ 2/18/05

Danone's focus in U.S. is yogurt, not water

The French food company distributes Evian water in the United States through a joint venture with Coca-Cola Co. in which Danone is a minority shareholder. It also sells lower-priced Dannon water, which competes with brands such as Coke's Dasani and PepsiCo Inc.'s Aquafina." The U.S. is not exactly our priority in the water business," chairman and chief executive Franck Riboud told Reuters during an interview in New York.Riboud said it is difficult for Danone to fight in the water business against players such as Coke, Pepsi and Nestle, which have their own set distribution systems in the United States, and that the company has decided to prioritize by focusing on growth in other countries. Reuters_ 2/16/05

Danone's top executive strives for independence

Danone Chairman and Chief Executive Franck Riboud discounted market rumors the French food company might be an acquisition target, saying he was prepared to participate in the ongoing consolidation wave, but as a buyer. The maker of Evian mineral water, LU cookies and Dannon yogurt has been widely rumored to be a takeover target for some time, though speculation has increased since Procter & Gamble Co. agreed to purchase Gillette Co. for $55 billion last month. Reuters_ 2/16/05

Danone writes off 150 million euros from Mey Eden mineral water merger

The French food giant announced it is writing off 600 million euros for the drop in value of its mineral water marketing operations of jugs for home and office delivery, 150 million euros' worth as a result of the Mey Eden (as Mayanot Eden is known in Israel) deal. This was the first time that Danone admitted publicly that the purchase of various mineral water firms, including Mayanot Eden was made at inflated prices unrelated to their true economic value. Haaretz_ 2/13/05

Pennsylvania's Woolrich woolen mill enters the bottled water arena

For 140 years, the Chatham Run watershed has provided power for the Woolrich woolen mill. Now, company officials say they are entering the bottled water market with Woolrich Spring Water. It could appear on store shelves in about a month. The company has signed brokerage agreements and plans to market the water within a 4.5-hour driving radius. That is an area most familiar with the Woolrich brand name. Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Sun-Gazette_ 2/11/05

Pour it on: Bottled water is the No. 2 beverage in the U.S.

The $9-billion-a-year business is second only to soft drinks. In the past 30 years, bottled water has emerged from almost nothing. If its growth patterns hold, bottled water will pass soft drinks in the next 10 to 15 years, said Gary A. Hemphill, spokesman for the Beverage Marketing Corp., a research and consulting firm. While the bottled water industry's revenue has grown by almost 800 percent in the past 20 years, so has competition. Hundreds of brands large and small fight for consumers' loyalty and attention. Daily Breeze_ 2/6/05

January, 2005

Merger of consumer product giants Procter & Gamble Co. and Gillette Co. may push Coca-Cola Co. into a similar move - Analyst

In a research note, Bear Stearns analyst Carlos Laboy said Coca-Cola Chief Executive Neville Isdell might have to embrace such a deal if he failed to restructure the world's largest soft drink maker. Isdell, who took over the top job at Coca-Cola last summer, is making Coca-Cola less dependent on sales of soft drinks and more of a leader in the development and marketing of bottled water and other non-carbonated soft drinks (CSDs). Isdell, a longtime veteran of Coca-Cola, left the company in 1998 to become chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages in Great Britain. Two years later, he led its merger with Hellenic Bottling Company, creating Coca-Cola HBC.  Reuters_ 1/28/05

Kingfield, Maine residents review Poland Springs bottled water plan

Nestlé Waters North America Inc., the Greenwich, Conn.-based parent company of Poland Spring, already operates two bottling plants in Maine -- one in Poland Spring and one in Hollis -- and is exploring options to build another plant in Franklin County. If built, officials said the Kingfield bottling plant could bring as many as 200 jobs to Franklin County. A key concern for Poland Spring is a proposal to have a Legislature-approved tax of as much as 20 cents per gallon on pumped water. The company says such a tax would be a crushing blow and, coupled with trucking costs, would render it unable to sustain a profit and remain competitive.  Kennebec Journal_ 1/27/05

Bottled waters flood San Francisco's National Association for the Specialty Food Trade show

In plain words, water is going upscale like never before. There is Cool Blue from New Zealand springs, presumably as pure as H2O can get; there are mineral-rich waters from the Americas and from Europe, including gently sparkling Sanfaustino (pictured right) from Umbria, presented in wine-bottle-handsome green glass. Promotional material shows it with a rakish skeleton, because "make no bones about it," it is said to contain more natural calcium than other bottled waters -- one glass supplies 10 percent of an adult's daily requirement. San Francisco Chronicle_ 1/26/05

Danone to take 600 million Euro hit from water

French food company Danone is taking a one-off charge of about 600 million euros ($782.9 million) in its 2004 accounts due to problems at two water joint ventures. Danone has a venture in U.S. home and office water delivery (HOD) called DS Waters which it formed with the Suntory Water Group in 2003, and another with Eden Springs in the European bottled water delivery market, called Danone Springs of Eden. Best-known for its Evian and San Pellegrino mineral waters in Europe, Danone struck problems in the maturing HOD business in the United States as competitive pressures mounted and revenues from its cooler rentals eroded more quickly than expected. That triggered the impairment charge. Reuters_ 1/26/05

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's favorite mineral water to be sold in South Korea

"... and I hope it can help improve inter-Korean relations,'' said company head Park Jong-eun. The water is from the North's scenic Mount Myohyang north of the capital Pyongyang and it will be shipped by Shinmyung International Co. AP/Planet Save_ 1/3/05

UK flies more bottled water to tsunami-hit Maldive Islands
A further 45 tonnes of bottled water is being sent from the UK to the Maldives by Scottish Water and Strathmore Water. The 20,000 donated bottles is the second airlift of water from the UK to the Maldives, which lie southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The DC8 aircraft will also bring 10,000 collapsible clean “aqua-pack” containers and 10,000 sterilisation tablets. Scottish Press Association_ 1/3/05

New York bans sale of nicotine-laced water to minors

The legal beverages contain about the same amount of nicotine as two cigarettes and now will be regulated the same as other tobacco products. Buyers will have to be at least 18 years old. The new law is aimed at a product called "NicoWater" that was marketed in New York and other states by a QT5, a Westlake Village, Californina-based enterprise. AP/Newswatch 50_ 1/1/05


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