You are hereFrench bottled water sales slipping as consumers turn to tapwater

French bottled water sales slipping as consumers turn to tapwater

By verda - Posted on 03 January 2007

Paris (AFX)

Sales of bottled water in France, the largest market in the world, fell 2.6 pct year-on-year in volume terms over the first 11 months of this year, in line with the decline seen in 2005, French daily La Tribune said, citing market research companies.

The high prices of premium brands like Evian and Volvic, owned by Danone, or Vittel and San Pellegrino, owned by Nestle, has prompted a switch to normal tapwater, the report said.

Late last year and in 2006, municipal water companies launched advertising campaigns promoting the safety and health benefits of tapwater, arguing that its composition is often very similar to bottled water that costs 100 to 300 times more.

'It's a long-term trend. There was a peak for sales in 2003, a year with a heat wave, followed logically by a decline in 2004. But since then the fall has continued and today, we still haven't returned to the levels of 2002,' said Mathieu Denier, a consultant at market analysis group Iri France.

Price increases have helped offset the lower volume sales. By value, sales fell 0.9 pct during the first 11 months of 2006, compared with a 5.5 pct drop last year.