Premium bottled water hits a new high in India
Premium packaged drinking water is fast acquiring the proportions of a fad across India. Easily available at fine dining outlets and five-star hotels, these bottles are increasingly being paired with good food and highend wine by those who can afford to pay for them.
The premium end of the Rs 8,000 crore market for bottled water is dominated principally by imported brands like Perrier, San Pellegrino and Evian. While Perrier is produced by Swiss multinational Nestle, San Pellegrino is imported from Italy and Evian from France.
A recent report by consulting firm ValueNotes estimates that the bottled water industry will overall grow at 22 per cent CAGR until 2018 to reach Rs 16,000 crore. The premium segment of this industry is expected to achieve similar growth in the next couple of years.
Says Sanjay Patti, director (food & beverages), Hyatt Regency Gurgaon: “Premium packaged water has been in vogue for a while, but the demand has shown marked increase of late. It is now becoming more of a style statement.”
Patti attributes the growing demand to the availability of many international brands that are produced in limited quantities. “Drinking a unique brand has become a fad,” he says.
“Our clientele opt mostly for international brands like Voss, Tau, Veen, San Pellegrino, Perrier, Acqua Panna and Evian,” he says.
Faisal Nafees, executive assistant manager, Hotel The Royal Plaza Delhi, points out: “Most international travellers prefer premium drinking water like San Pellegrino, Perrier and Evian. There has been a clear increase in demand, especially among the health conscious, for sparkling water over carbonated drinks. Indian customers are also increasingly ordering premium drinking water at the dining table.”
He adds: “San Pellegrino sparkling natural mineral water and Acqua Panna natural spring water can even harmonise with wine to enhance a meal.”
Love Mathur, executive assistant manager and beverages head, Deltin Hotel Daman, says: “Guests in five-star hotel have always been choosy, especially about food and beverages. Some guests prefer mineral water, some ask for aerated water like Perrier and some choose natural like Himalayan and Evian.”
In the packaged drinking water segment, India has about 150 domestic brands. Of these, Bisleri’s Vedic and Tata’s Himalayan are the big players at the premium end with nearly 60 per cent of the market share collectively.
The market has just got more competitive with Blue Pine, Prystine Food and Beverages’ artisian water brand, joining the fray and betting big on the growing potential of Indian market.
Shrikant Hazare, founder and CEO, Prystyne, says: “The luxury water industry in India is at a nascent stage. India is among the top ten countries in terms of bottled water consumption. Today, bottled water is one of the India’s fastest growing industrial sectors.”
He adds: “Rising health awareness, increase in disposable income, expanding organised retail, and growing urban drift in the country will drive the wheel of growth for the industry.”
Harish Bijoor, brand expert and chief executive officer (CEO), Harish Bijoor Consults, “There is a growing tendency of people wanting to spend more on the lowest denominator of everyday life, which is water. A growing number of the rich think, why should they spend on an ordinary packaged drinking water which everyone else is buying. They brand conscious class wants to spend on premium products which set them apart. Also, the growing culture of dining out and corporate meetings is driving the fad for premium/luxury packaged drinking water in India.”