Mineral water consumption in Hungary is set to rise by almost seven litres per person by the end of 2001 according to the Hungarian Mineral Water Association (HMWA) and Product Council.

In 2000, mineral water consumption in Hungary stood at 39.2 litres per person (compared to 28 litres per person in 1999). The Hungarian press has reported that based on figures from the first half of 2001, consumption for this year will reach 46-47 litres per person.

Although figures show the country's mineral water market is set to see more growth this year, it still trails behind Western Europe where consumption is between 130-149m litres per person.

But whereas EU regulations stipulate that mineral water can come from any protected water layer in the EU. Hungarian regulations demand that mineral water must contain a higher concentration and number of mineral components and underground water sources are state property. Mineral water bottlers who use underground sources have to pay a fee to the state.

Mineral water accounts for around 90% of the Hungarian bottled water market, which in turn is estimated to be worth around HUF 12bn-13bn (US$46m).