Global sales of alternative waters increased by 21% in 2016 to more than US$2.7 billion, finds a Zenith Global report.
Volume has been driven by the trend towards healthy hydration as consumers seek alternatives to sugar sweetened soft drinks.
The majority of value came from North and South America, where sales of coconut water and maple water are strongest.
By 2020, the market is forecast to have doubled in size to reach US$5.4 billion.
Coconut water dominates the alternative waters market, accounting for 96% of volume and 86% of value in 2016.
In contrast to other plant waters, where there are numerous small and local players, the coconut water segment has three major global leaders: The Coca-Cola Company with Zico and Innocent; PepsiCo with One, Kero Coco and Naked; and All Market with Vita Coco.
“Asia Pacific and South America are expected to be the fastest growth markets for coconut water.
“Both have high unpackaged coconut water consumption and thus particular scope for packaged coconut water,” commented Portia Rifat, senior market analyst.
“The much smaller maple water segment is projected to triple in size to 2020.”
“North America offers the greatest potential for innovation in natural flavors and organic sourcing.”
“The best prospects for birch water are in West Europe,” she concluded.
Zenith forecasts that the global market for alternative waters will approach 1,900 million liters by 2020, benefitting from increasing sales in both the mainstream and premium markets.
The main opportunities for brands in the alternative waters market are identified as including providing premium, craft, organic and ‘not from concentrate’ plant waters.