Bottled water sales in the UK are on the rise as consumers become more health conscious, according to recent research.

In a study, released today (18 May) by Zenith International, results show that sales in 2006 were up 5.8% to 2,275m litres, reaching GBP1,700m in retail value in the UK.

From a 13% share of total soft drinks consumption in 2001, plain unflavoured bottled water increased to 16% in 2006. Consumption per person reached 37.6 litres last year, up from 26.9 litres five years ago.

"From school lunchboxes to dining out, at the gym or for hydration on the go, bottled water is ever more appreciated across a range of consumption occasions," said Zenith research director Gary Roethenbaugh.

A recent survey conducted by BMRB International has also shown a progressive acceptance of bottled water by the British public. The percentage of adults aged 15 and above drinking bottled water has advanced from 40% in 2001 to 56% in 2006.