The trade body for the UK's bottled water industry has criticised the results of a consumer survey in the country, commissioned by the producer of a collapsible bottle designed to store tap water.

The survey, which concludes that 50% of school pupils preferred tap water compared to 25% who favoured bottled water, forms part of a campaign organised by Ohyo Ltd and free water sourcing charity Find-A-Foundation. The campaign also includes downloadable lesson plans that promote “the benefits of tap over factory-bottled water”, according to a press release this week from Ohyo and Find-A-Foundation.

When contacted by just-drinks today (8 July), however, the head of the British Soft Drinks Association said that the campaign missed the broader point. “Children are more vulnerable to dehydration,” said Gavin Partington, “so whether it’s tap or bottled water they should be encouraged to drink more during their school day. 

“This campaign should not be about which water children should be drinking, but making sure they are drinking enough.”

Guy Jeremiah, the creator of the Ohyo reusable water bottle and co-founder of Find-a-Fountain, said: “From the 1980s onwards, the public went for the slick marketing of bottled water. However, in recent years, concern about the environment has caused a rethink.

"By joining our campaign, schools can help everyone save money, reduce their impact on the environment and avoid the harmful toxins associated with some bottled water products - by educating the very youngest in our society we have a chance to change attitudes for the long term.”