Water is a key to social equity to environmental stability and to cultural diversity. Water is also firmly linked with health. Pure and safe drinking water has always been a necessity. The tradition and style of serving drinking water, in India, has however changed quite dramatically during the last decade. Almost a decade ago, the introduction of bottled water or “packaged mineral water” has changed the tradition of serving and consuming drinking water. This has ushered in very strongly, the use of polymers or plastics as materials for water storage and distribution.
The categories of bottled water in India are Packaged Natural Mineral Water and Packaged Drinking Water .Bottled water industry,colloquially called,the mineral water industry,is a symbol of new life style emerging in India. The packaged drinking water in India, which is estimated at Rs.850 crores with over 200 brands floating in the market, most of which have restricted territorial distribution. This is a growing market in India as quality consciousness among the consumers is on the rise. The bottled water market is growing at a rapid rate of around 20%.At this growth rate, the Rs 7000million per year market is estimated to overtake the soft drinks market soon. Multinationals, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and others are trying to grab a significant share of the market. There are more than 180 brands in the unorganized sector. The small players account for nearly 19% of the total market. The per capita consumption of bottled water in India is less than half a litre per year, compared to 111 litres in France and 45 litres in the US. These points to the future potential beyond the high growth.
Major Players with their brands include Parle Export which introduced Bisleri in India 25 years ago, Parle Agro with Bailley, Godrej Foods with its Golden Valley, Coca-Cola with Kinley, PepsiCo with Aquafina, Nestle India with Perrier, Mohan Meakins and SKN Breweries entered the market with Golden Eagle and Penguin mineral water, respectively.Nonetheless,Bisleri and Bailley,both of Parle Origin ,enjoy about 50% market share and has become almost generic with the product. The premium bottled water market in India has brands like Evian,San Pelligrino,Perrier.
In the market for water purifiers,while Aquaguard from Eureka Forbes,remains the market leader,several others have made it to the market place.Usha Shriram with its Brita water Purifier already established,has launched India’s first digital water purifier-the waterguard Digital in collaboration with Brita GmbH of Germany. HLL has also forayed into the water business,with its water purifier device called Pure.
Water Purifiers (residential segment) are growing at 22-25% annually. A high growth rate indicates a good future potential in these sectors. It is a Rs 5 to 6 billion industry,with Aquaguard cornering more than 50% of the market. The rest is divided among Kent RO,Pentair,Ion Exchange and Others.