The food and drink analysts said the weakness of the global economy, poor weather in key European, market and environmental criticisms all conspired to depress the bottled water market.
Bottled water is often criticised for the environmental impact of manufacturing and transportation that could all be avoided if people relied on the tap, in the Western world at least.
One exception to this line of argument is flavoured water products, which offers the consumer more than just hydration. And it is these products that have been outperforming the rest of the market in both the US and Europe, said Innova Market Insights.
While overall sales in the US bottled water market fell 1 per cent by volume in 2008, flavoured and enhanced water advanced 8 per cent.
“The standard pure bottled water market is likely to face ongoing problems for the foreseeable future,” said Innova Market Insights research leader LuAnn Williams. “And new product activity, as the Innova Database is currently illustrating, is likely to continue to focus on value-added and enhanced waters.”
Innova Market Insights said there has been considerable activity surrounding enhanced waters in the US. The first vitamin-enhanced waters to use the PureVia zero-calorie sweetener came onto the market with the launch of PepsiCo’s SoBe Lifewater range infused with herbal ingredients.
Other notable launches in the US include the first omega-3 enriched waters, with the OmegaChill range from Zymes Omega Solutions, and the first flavoured sparkling water to be certified as organic.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Innova Market Insights said the focus has been on extending the range of flavoured waters available in recent months.
For example, the Active O2 range from Adelholzener in Germany has been extended with coffee and fruit blends to include mango and coffee, and raspberry and coffee.
LuAnn Williams said opportunities remain in value-added and enhanced waters but warned that multinational companies, such as Nestle and Danone, may increasingly turn to the emerging markets to maintain growth because of the problems facing the bottled water market as a whole in mature markets.