Bottled water in the United States

A large pile of Poland Spring bottles.

The United States is the largest consumer market for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil.[1]
In 1975, Americans hardly drank bottled water—just one gallon of bottled water per person per year on average. By 2005, it had grown to ~26 gallons (98.5 L) per person per year. [2]
In 2008, U.S. bottled water sales topped 8.6 billion US gallons (33,000,000 m3) for 28.9% of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market, exceeding sales of all other beverages except carbonated soft drinks, followed by fruit juices and sports drinks.[3] By 2011, this number had risen to 9.1 billion gallons.[4] In 2017, the single-serve water sales totaled $24.1 billion.[5] Americans drink 21 US gallons (79 L) of bottled water per capita per year.[6] From 1970 (16 brands) over 1998 (50 brands) to 2012 (195 brands), the number of mineral water brands in the U.S. has grown exponentially.[7]


About 25% of U.S. bottled water sold is purified municipal water[8] according to a four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).[8] Both Aquafina from PepsiCo and Dasani from The Coca-Cola Company originate from municipal water systems.[9] However, according to the FDA, about 75 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from other sources, including "natural underground sources, which include rivers, lakes, springs and artesian wells." Federal regulations also require that the standard of identity be noted on the bottle label.[clarification needed]


Bottled water is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration according to standards of identity, standards of quality and good manufacturing practices.[10][11][12]

Standards of identity define types of water for labeling purposes:

  • To be called ground water, the water must not be under the direct influence of surface water.
  • Water containing more than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids is mineral water.
  • Artesian water comes from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer; it may be collected with the assistance of external force to enhance the natural underground pressure.
  • Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or similar processes is purified or demineralized water.
  • Sparkling water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source, although it may be removed and replenished in treatment.
  • Spring water must be derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth's surface.
  • Sterile water meets the requirements under "sterility tests" in the United States Pharmacopoeia.
  • Well water is water that has been removed from a hole bored or drilled in the ground which taps into an aquifer.

Standards of quality regulate acceptable levels of the water's turbidity, color and odor, according to sample analysis. Exemptions are made according to aesthetically based allowable levels, and do not relate to health concerns. An example is mineral water, which is exempt from allowable color levels.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Changing Consumer Tastes Creates Explosive Growth For Domestic And International Bottled Water Brands - Revenue In 2007 Expected To Reach $5.974 Billion With Growth Set To Climb Higher Through 2012", press release, IBISWorld, May 21, 2008.
  2. ^ "News Release: Bottled Water Continues Tradition of Strong Growth in 2005", press release [1], April 2016.
  3. ^ "Smaller categories still saw growth as the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market shrank by 2.0% in 2008, Beverage Marketing Corporation reports", press release Beverage Marketing Corporation, 3/30/2009.
  5. ^ Caronello, Sophie (8 May 2018). "Bottled Water, Soda Provide the Pop in U.S." Bloomberg News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Learn More: Bottled Water". Columbia Water Center. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  7. ^ Aichner, T. and Coletti, P. 2013. Customers' online shopping preferences in mass customization. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 15(1): 20-35.
  8. ^ a b Owen, James. Bottled Water Isn't Healthier Than Tap, Report Reveals, National Geographic, February 24, 2006.
  9. ^ Lempert, Phil. Is your bottled water coming from a faucet?,, July. 21, 2004.
  10. ^ Posnick, Lauren M. and Kim, Henry (2002). "Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA." Food Safety. August/September 2002. ISSN 1084-5984.
  11. ^ FDA. "21 CFR Part 129 - Processing and Bottling of Bottled Drinking Water." Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Code of Federal Regulations.
  12. ^ a b FDA. "21 CFR 165.110 - Requirements for Specific Standardized Beverages: Bottled Water." Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Code of Federal Regulations.

External links

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