SMEs miss out on boom in sales of table water

In Germany people drank more mineral water in the year 2008 than ever before. Nevertheless, German producers of mineral water had a difficult year 2008, said the German Association of owners of mineral water wells (VDM). Despite the fact that sales of mineral and spa-water increased by 2.2% in 2008, this increase affected almost exclusively discounters which on their part buy from a limited number of bottling businesses only. The majority of regional or small/medium-sized bottling businesses registered a reduction in sales, according to the VDM which represents about 220 German mineral water well owners.

The sales increase related most of all to mineral water without carbonic acid. This kind of mineral water enjoys more and more popularity and reached a market share of 9.5%. Sales of traditional table waters containing much carbonic acid, on the other hand, fell by 1.8%. However, this kind of table water still has the biggest market share (45%) followed by waters containing very small amounts of carbonic acid (43%). Sales in spa-waters, on the other hand, decreased by 10.6%.

The annual per-capita consumption of natural mineral water in Germany increased to 138 litres which makes mineral water the most popular non-alcoholic beverage in Germany. Said Mr. Wolfgang Stubbe, managing director of the VDM: “This new increase in the per-capita consumption demonstrates once more the popularity of mineral water which for many people is much more than just a thirst quencher. For many people natural mineral water is as much part of the eating culture as a glass of high-quality wine.” However, according to Mr. Stubbe it was annoying that the government still refuses to lower VAT on mineral water to 7% which is the rate applied to all other basic foodstuffs. GERMAN