It is impossible to imagine life without water. We are blessed with abundant natural water resources, but rising population, alarming rates of global warming, and rapid industrialization, combined with a lack of adequate and improved management of water supply systems, have resulted in increased water consumption, waste, and deterioration of water supply networks, resulting in water scarcity. In the current decade, the global water deficit, particularly in developing countries, has created new possibilities for the bottled water industry.
Bottled water is now available in a wide range of sizes, including 200 mL pouches and glasses, 330 mL bottles, 500 ml bottles, one-liter bottles, and even 20- to 50-liter bulk water packs. The bottled water industry in India can be split into three categories based on price: premium natural mineral water, natural mineral water, and packaged drinking water.
By releasing Bisleri in India 25 years ago, Parle was the first Indian company to join the bottled water market in the country, and “Bisleri” became a synonym for mineral water. With the advent of large worldwide corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle, as well as a prominent presence of national players like Mount Everest, Manikchand, and Kingfisher, that image is deteriorating.
One thing to keep in mind in this company is that the infrastructure and distribution network requirements are the same for all sorts of companies, regardless of whether they operate on a national or regional scale. Almost every major foreign and national brand water bottle has made its way into the Indian market and can be found anywhere from malls to railway stations to bus stations to multiplexes to grocery stores and even panwala’s shops. It has permeated the market so thoroughly that bottled water is now widely consumed when it was only a few years ago.
The Indian market is worth around Rs 1,000 crore and is increasing at a staggering 40% each year. It will reach Rs 4,000-5,000 crore by 2010, with natural mineral water accounting for 33% of the market. According to national research, India has over 200 bottled water companies, with roughly 80 percent of them being local brands.
According to industry data, India’s bottled water market is one of the fastest-growing sectors, on track to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of the decade if current trends continue. Increased disposable income, a weak public water distribution system and infrastructure, and the Indian government’s lack of concern for the nation’s water resources are all factors leading to such rapid growth.
However, just like any other business, the Indian bottled water industry has hurdles such as insufficient transportation infrastructure, low entry barriers, brand recognition issues, and threats from environmentalists and social activists opposing the usage of bottled water.
If we look at the future of water in India, it is very bleak. Unless water management practices are changed, and if no drastic steps are taken in this direction, we will face a severe water crisis within the next two decades, and by that time, we will not have enough money to build new infrastructure, nor will we be able to meet the growing demand for water due to India’s population explosion.