Although the West European market for bulk water is currently growing four times as fast as that for packaged water, demand is expected to slow over the medium to long term according to a new report from beverage industry analysts Canadean.

The rate of increase in the demand for bulk water (supplied in containers of between 10 and 20 litres) will, say Canadean, decline as the distribution of units becomes more widespread. The number of coolers in West Europe, which accounts for slightly less than ten per cent of the world's bulk water consumption, is currently estimated to exceed one million. Dispensers are now increasingly found in workplaces, hospitals, cafes, restaurants and bars.

Bulk water forms the special focus of Canadean's report on the performance of the West European soft drinks market during the final quarter of 2000. The report also contains provisional estimates for the whole of last year which show that although 2000 got off to a flying start with a 5.5 per cent rise in the first half, there was a dramatic fall in the second half. As a result the total soft drinks market in West Europe grew by three per cent - one percentage point down on 1999. During the year as a whole packaged water was the top performing sector with juice and nectars coming in ahead of carbonates. By contrast with the prospects for the bulk water sector, last year's overall growth in the market for soft drinks is expected to be maintained during 2001.

"Assuming average weather, a reasonable economic outlook.....and no significant industry moves, our first forecast for 2001 is for total soft drinks to continue growing at just over three per cent.," say Canadean.

Almost half the volume rise is likely to come from the packaged water sector. Still water is predicted to stay strong, while the cola segment will continue to drive carbonates forward.

The report, as well as providing an overview of the soft drinks market in Western Europe during the last quarter of 2000, also looks in detail at all of the major national markets. In addition to focusing in on bulk water, it also contains tables and analyses covering soft drinks and water consumption trends, makes predictions for demand during the present year, provides a country by country market commentary and takes a look at new products. An identical report is also published quarterly on the East European market.

Canadean's report on the first quarter of 2001 to be published in May will carry a special focus on carbonates packaging trends.

For further details on the West or East European Soft Drinks Service Quarterly Reviews Nos 83 and 24, Fourth Quarter of 2000, please contact Rob Kay-Shuttleworth on Tel: +44 (0) 1256 394224.

Further details on Canadean's "Packaged Water Report 2000 - West Europe" can be found at:
http://just-drinks.com/store/products_detail.asp?art=11560

For analysis of the global packaged water market, visit:
http://just-drinks.com/store/products_detail.asp?art=11552