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

Parts of the UK are now officially in a state of drought and the EA is warning that more regions will follow, with the situation being potentially worse than in 1976 (although I can’t really remember that…). I’ve been asked a few times recently whether this will impact the food manufacturing sector. So, what are the implications for industry? There are a series of steps water companies can take, depending on the seriousness of the situation.

Initially, water companies can apply for drought permits, which can allow normal abstraction restrictions to be relaxed to ensure continuity of supply – so environmental protection rules are relaxed in times of need.

Second come ordinary drought orders, which restrict use of water for certain activities specified in the Drought Direction 2011. This includes, for example, washing vehicles, using hosepipes and dust supression. In addition, the EA can restrict abstraction from rivers and groundwater where deemed necessary.

Finally, emergency drought orders can be enforced. These allows water companies to restrict water use for any use that they consider to be inappropriate. This is where they could legally stop businesses using water, but it is highly unlikely to happen, particularly for food and beverage manufacturers.

Of course, if you have your own supply, there may be practical limitations to what you can supply should groundwater or river levels fall considerably.

You can get more information on this from Defra here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/water/resources/drought/

News from the Middle East shows the importance of water in the region. The UAE has recently banned the export of groundwater. The full press release is available here.

This comes about after a study by the Ministry of Environment and Water shows a decline in groundwater levels and subsequent depletion of water resources as a result of exports.

Reports from Qatar suggest it is concerned that this will result in rising prices for bottled water, as Saudi Arabia has also stopped exports of water.

I’m unclear from the press release whether this applies to companies using groundwater in beverages that are then exported, but the indications from Qatar are that it will. I’m sure this will become more of an issue in the future.

At Zenith, we collect data on the soft drinks market from all over the world. The data in our 2011 reports got me thinking: what does the predicted growth over the next five years mean in terms of the number of production facilities required to deliver that growth?

We’re predicting that total ready to drink soft drink consumption will increase from 530 billion litres in 2010 to 608 billion litres in 2015, an increase of 78 billion litres, or nearly 15%.

The first point to make is that the growth is not evenly spread across the globe; the high growth rates are in the developing markets of India, China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa, but even this is not the full picture. We expect Europe to remain flat or decrease slightly, but predict some growth in North America, probably equivalent in terms of volume to India or China, but from a much higher level of current consumption.

Now, there is spare production capacity in Europe, so new factories are unlikely there. I suspect we’ll see replacement and upgrading in that part of the world. It’s the developing market where the new factories are likely to be built. To give an idea of the scale of development needed to supply an additional 78 billion litres, I did a quick back of the envelope calculation and came up with the following: 78 billion litres over five years is an additional 16 billion litres every year; a big factory might produce more than 500 million litres in a year, a small plant less than 50 million litres.

I guess the average is about 150 million litres. Even allowing for some current spare capacity and new lines installed in existing facilities, this still suggests that something like 50 new beverage factories will be built, globally, every year, for each of the next five years. That’s got to be good news for the equipment suppliers!

Type 2 diabetes is a scourge of modern society.  Now new research has shown that it can be reversed merely by changing one’s diet.  Maybe not for everyone, but possibly for a majority.


The diet recommended allows for no more than 600 calories a day from “liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables” for two months.  This can reportedly both remove fat from the pancreas and restore its normal working.


In early stage clinical trials by Newcastle University on behalf of Diabetes UK, it worked for 7 out of 11 people.  Admittedly a tiny sample, but immensely encouraging nevertheless.


Full details can be found in Diabetologia.


Hard on the heels of various American local initiatives to tax soft drinks, I learned at Zenith’s Global Dairy Congress in St Petersburg this month that the Danish Government is imposing a new tax on saturated fat from 1st October.

I’m entirely in favour of education and social pressure to improve diets and lifestyles, but I have yet to see evidence that such taxes materially help in reducing obesity.

Whereas they unquestionably can generate substantial sums of money for governments that have lost control of spending.  The Danish tax is expected to raise some 200 million euros towards a 1 billion euro shortfall.

In my opinion, these taxes are examples of mis-government.  They fail to address the causes of either excess public spending or poor public health.  They also restrict consumer choice and risk locking in more tax anomalies – on top of those that already penalise fruit juice and water, for example.

The Danish tax is particularly iniquitous because it singles out one type of fat and ignores the nutritional benefits of many affected products.

I do hope the food industry beefs up its lobbying so it is not milked by another cash strapped government or it will be hard cheese all round.

This year, I’ve come across more and more indications that a new dimension could be about to emerge in the beverage market.  The idea of selling drinks that aren’t drinks.

I recently attended a Swiss trade show called Vitafoods, which didn’t have that much to do with foods at all.  It was a giant festival for health and dietary supplements.  Yet here, there was a distinct trend in innovation towards people being able to consume supplements in drinks.

Now, most supplements are solid – in the form of tablets and capsules.  A second incipient concept is that of liquid supplements instead.  I saw several examples at Vitafoods and will highlight three in my next blog.

Another variant on this theme is that of self-dispensing caps.  Some of these push and others twist.  Some contain powder and others liquid.  At Vitafoods, I even saw one with a tablet.  In Zenith, we’ve probably had presented to us at least 20 of these new cap technologies.  The benefit is that the consumer can be sure each serving is dispensed absolutely fresh and with no deterioration.

But these caps do not actually need to be sold as part of a beverage.  They could be sold online or alongside a water fixture.

Of course, there is a long history of powdered and syrup drinks.  What’s different is that they could become a driver of choice for a new era of functional drinks.  Body builders and athletes are well used to making their own drinks preparations.  Could the idea catch on more widely ?  It seems to be an idea whose time might well be coming.