Opinion from global food and drink experts, Zenith Global

On the night of Wednesday 21 October, the 2015 Global Bottled Water Awards were presented during a gala dinner at the iconic Myriad Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Awards were a highlight of Zenith’s 12th Global Bottled Water Congress, organised in conjunction with media partners BeverageDaily.com, Beverfood and the International Bottled Water Association.

There were over 100 entries from 22 countries, demonstrating novelty in 11 categories including packaging and design, marketing, sustainability and community initiatives.

The international judging panel recognised products and concepts that push the boundaries of innovation and offer measurable benefits to consumers and the environment, setting high standards for the global packaged water industry.

What the Award winners had to say…

“I was delighted that Nestlé Waters won two awards in such an important contest, which rewards the best achievements in the bottled water industry. That was a clear recognition of the success of our work to create value for the whole category.”

Paolo Sangiorgi, Senior Vice President- European Markets, Nestlé Waters

“It is always nice to learn that other people, especially experts in the field, believe that your product has potential. I am glad that I decided to enter the awards.”

Staffan Palsson, Managing Director, CapAble

“I am grateful to the people at Zenith for scouring the globe and finding us. To have an international panel select our effort, out of the many very worthy initiatives that have been nominated, honours both the Philippines and the work we do at Hope.”

Nanette Medved-Po, Founder, Friends of Hope

“This is a great reward for all the effort that has gone into this project. It is an honour to be distinguished among so many good initiatives for our sustainability focus. Congratulations also to the organisers for an amazing Awards night and a great Congress. A big thank you from Coca-Cola HBC Greece and Natural Mineral Water AVRA.”

Panagiota Tempelopoulou, Senior Brand Manager-Avra, Coca-Cola 3E

“We are happy to receive great recognition for our unique and precious water with this award!”

Karline Scheer, Brand Concept Manager, Iceberg Water

“For us the award is very important as it adds credit to our plans and distribution ambitions in 2016 onwards.”

Edward Woolner, Founder and Managing Director, Powerful Water Company


 What the judges had to say…

“The program was well run and there were lots of very creative marketing efforts and products.”

Joseph Doss, President and CEO, International Bottled Water Association

“I was truly fascinated by the level of innovation in the industry. It was great to see all contributions, from long-established companies and newcomers across the world.”

Esther Renfrew, Market Intelligence Director, Zenith International

“The awards were a great showcase of the ideas and innovations in the bottled water category, from natural mineral and spring water brands to functional and flavoured products.”

Rachel Arthur, Reporter, Beverage Daily


For the full list of finalists and winners please click here.


2015 Global Bottled Water Awards

2015 Global Bottled Water Awards

On 20-22 October 2015, Zenith International held the 12th Global Bottled Water Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. This year’s theme was Added Value and the Congress saw some fantastic speakers discussing a range of market developments, issues and innovation. Each presentation and panel discussion was packed with ideas and insights.

The overall message was highly positive. The sector’s growth observed in recent years remains strong and this is forecast to continue. The emerging economies will help drive volume increases, but the sector needs to lead in innovation, technology, packaging and social and environmental responsibility to ensure it provides a product that fits with the opportunity. As one speaker noted, “it is imperative to get occasion, brand, pack, price and channel correct to succeed in each market.”

It would be impossible to discuss all of the topics covered in one post, but below are some of my highlights:

• Bottled water continues to see excellent worldwide growth. It is the largest soft drink sector (excluding tea) and is expected to grow by 7% in 2015.
• South East Asia now consumes one third of the world’s soft drinks. It has a growing middle class (estimated to be 400m) with increasing spending power.
• The industry has to continue to lead on social and environmental responsibility, especially in emerging markets.
• Branding is key. Consumers across all markets, no matter their spending power, want to purchase great brands.
• Social media are making the world more connected and millennials want to discover brands rather than being told what to buy. They look for authentic, local stories.

The Congress finished with an entrepreneur shoot-out, which confirmed that innovation is well and truly alive in the sector. We saw water with the addition of spirulina, water with added vitamins, a new type of sports water as well as improved closure technology. As always, these new concepts sparked debate about how the sector continues to move forward and push boundaries.

Another undeniable highlight of the Congress was the presentation of the 2015 Global Bottled Water Awards at a Gala Dinner, with more than 100 entries from 22 countries. It was fantastic to see such an array of products that continue to innovate and my congratulations go out to all the finalists and winners.

Overall, another fantastic event packed with new ideas and insights. Hope to see you next year!

Simon Johnson- Senior Consultant at Zenith International

For more information on the event, click here


12th Global Bottled Water Congress

12th Global Bottled Water Congress


June 14th, 2011 | Posted by Richard Hall in Dairy | Events - (0 Comments)

At last week’s Global Dairy Congress, one of the most keenly anticipated presentations was from dairy newcomer PepsiCo.  Indeed, following its acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, PepsiCo now has a General Manager – Global Dairy.  What did Kim Small have to say ?  I hope she’ll forgive me if I’ve oversimplified.

  • PepsiCo’s new strategy revolves around four natural ingredients – fruits, whole grain, veggies and milk.
  • Innovation will take place across and between these product types.
  • Milk is seen as a nutrition powerhouse.
  • Emphasis will be placed on value added dairy, breakfast and snacking.


April 26th, 2011 | Posted by Richard Hall in Events | Soft drinks - (0 Comments)

When Zenith’s UK Soft Drinks Industry Conference delegates were kindly invited to visit Coca-Cola’s biggest soft drinks bottling operation in Europe at Wakefield earlier in April, I was greatly impressed by a range of best practice insights:

  • It achieves day 2 delivery, meaning an order today can be on the road tomorrow.
  • Part of its operations are so automated that it can run with the ‘lights out.’
  • Water usage in 2010 was as low as 1.31 litres for every litre of finished product.  The figure for 2011 is already down to 1.25 litres and the ultimate target is 1.1 litres.
  • Together, the three canning lines fill 100 cans every second, 6,000 per minute and 360,000 per hour.
  • Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for 3 hours.
  • Recycling one PET bottle saves enough energy to run a 60 watt light bulb for 6 hours.

 Most impressive of all were two other features – total commitment to sustainability including zero waste to landfill already achieved and total workforce ownership of efficiency and sustainability goals.


March 24th, 2011 | Posted by Richard Hall in Events - (0 Comments)

I found many genuinely new product ideas at the International Food and Drink Event in London last week.  Here is a selection:

  • Birch wood juice
    For just one month at the beginning of spring, before leaves appear, a tree can produce 15 litres a day.  It’s pasteurised for a two year shelf life and has many natural benefits.
  • Ice slush in pouches
    Launched three years ago in the US, Rips Ice uses tear off pouches for its premium ice slushes, which contain white grape juice and can be stored at ambient temperatures before freezing.
  • Mixed Ape cocktails
    With and without alcohol, these night club cocktails in ring pull aluminium bottles were introduced in Belgium last year including Sex on the Beach.
  • Olive water
    Coming out in May, the Olive Living range includes sufficient olive polyphenols for health claims but doesn’t taste of olive.
  • Prize winning Stream
    One of IFE’s winners, Stream from South Africa has uniquely designed tall triangular bottles with a tall thin cap, which dramatically dispenses flavours and functions when pressed.
  • Tapioca tea bubbles
    The strangest drink I tried, because you chew the tapioca after drinking the cloudy tea, but it tasted fine and will be the focus of a new cult club in Soho run by a former JP Morgan banker.

Any one of these could be a runaway success, but I doubt more than one and I wish I knew which.

We’ve just held our first Italian mineral water industry conference in Naples.  The driving was fast, the food slow, the dialogue animated and the insights fascinating.  I saw and learned many new things.  Here are ten.

  • At the entrance to the spacious Ferrarelle plant was a field of solar panels, which generate 15% of the site’s power.
  • There, I was able to drink a naturally sparkling water direct from the source.
  • At one borehole, the natural pressure is so strong that it sends up a spout of water 20 metres high.
  • San Benedetto has discovered that almost 60% of its carbon footprint comes from the production and transport of raw materials, mainly plastic, compared with under 20% for production or for transporting finished product.
  • Its 1 litre Easy bottle has a fully verified carbon offset programme.
  • Nestlé’s Levissima brand now uses 25% recycled PET for its 1 litre bottle.
  • Krones introduced a series of innovations including an extraordinarily light 3.5 gram six pack carrier that requires far less material than any shrink wrap.
  • It was suggested that 50cl bottles of still water could soon use as little as 8 grams of PET.
  • The cost of obesity in the United States has been put at $147 billion a year.
  • It felt as if Naples was home to the original shot drink – its tiny espresso coffees are known as ‘ristretto’.


The highlight for me, though, was chairing a two hour discussion between four of the industry’s top chief executives and the President of the country’s leading retailer Coop Italia.  What made it even more interesting was a national media campaign by Coop Italia in support of tap water.  Yet they were all charming throughout.

I should add a footnote about a fascinating 200km per hour journey with three of the chief executives.  I did wonder for a moment about the fate of half the entire industry in one car.

As part of the build up to our Global Beverages Summit on 29-31 March in Washington DC, I shall be hosting a short webinar on 16 February at 15.00 GMT, 10.00 EST.

Along with colleague Ross Colbert, I’ll be highlighting some of the latest global beverage market trends and giving an overview of some fast emerging categories.

You are most welcome to join us. Just click here to register.

The Congress itself has an outstanding programme, ranging from Coca-Cola and Unilever through lobby groups and private equity firms to Tata and Zico. To find out more, go to


While I was in Brazil a fortnight ago for the national mineral water industry congress and trade fair, one of the main talking points was the astonishing level of taxation on using water from natural sources for bottling.  In all the stories I heard, the amount is equivalent to 40% or more of the average retail price in shops.

Not only must this be the highest level of tax on water anywhere in the world, it is also perverse.  I saw many obese children and yet this tax is greater than on any other food or beverage.  Moreover, mineral waters contain no chemicals unlike treated tap waters.

As with the Brazilian economy, the local bottled water industry is in robust good health.  How much better health for all if these taxes were reduced to the same levels as other consumer goods ?

ABINAM, the national association, has worked effectively with government to improve the quality and management of industry standards and is to be commended for making a priority of these tax concerns.