Highland Spring overtook Evian in the UK

Highland Spring overtook Evian in the UK

Highland Spring Group's “finger in all the channels” helped its namesake brand overtake Evian as the UK's top-selling bottled water last year, the company's CEO has said.

In 2012, Highland Spring shifted 199.3m litres, a 9% increase on the year before, according to figures from Zenith International seen by Highland Spring Group. Danone-owned Evian fell back to second, followed by Buxton, Volvic and Nestlé Pure Life.

Highland Spring CEO Les Montgomery said the achievement was in part thanks to the brand's footprint across the UK's retail sector.

“We're one of the few major brands in still and sparkling, and we cover all channels,” Montgomery told just-drinks today (9 April). “So, as well as the retail channel, which is very important to us, we have a strong presence in food service, convenience and cash & carry. We have a finger in all the different channels.”

Montgomery also said that annual bottled water consumption in the UK increased to 34 litres last year from 33.1 in 2011, with room for future growth. “Consumption is still a long way from our European counterparts, however it's going in the right direction,” he said.

However, he added that the recession has brought a “survival of the fittest” element to the bottled water industry.

“We're just having to work harder to keep our share,” he said. “We want to maintain our number one position, we don't want to lose that.”

Yesterday, Zenith figures revealed that UK bottled water volumes grew by 3.3% last year as the industry continued its recovery from the 2006 slump.