Canned water brands can alleviate sustainability problems of bottled water, says GlobalData

Water is an everyday necessity, associated with life, healthiness and purity. To sustain this image, water packaging should feature simple and recyclable design. Since the impact of plastic packaging on the environment is widely discussed, canned water brands have an important role to play to reduce packaged water’s impact on the environment, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

The company’s report ‘ForeSights: Canned Water’ explores the future potential of reusable/recyclable canned water as an alternative to the mainstream bottled products.

According to GlobalData’s Q1 2017 consumer survey, recyclability is the most important factor in environmentally friendly packaging, with 74% of consumers globally finding it very or extremely important.

Efforts have been made by manufacturers to replace plastic in water bottles with biodegradable materials obtained from various natural sources, such as algae. But could aluminum offer a more straight-forward answer to the problem?

Consumers mostly want reusable containers to be easy to carry, open and close. Other on-the-go packaging benefit preferences include being easy to dispose, reduced carbon foot print and light weight. Only aluminum cans, of all the available water packaging types, fulfill these preferences.

Canned and boxed water have been used in the past for emergency situations, such as natural disasters, rather than commercially. However, a few independent brands, including Noah’s spring water from US-based Varni Brothers and CanO water in the UK, have appeared in the developed world, using aluminum cans and beverage cartons to create more sustainable and safe alternatives of the bottled water.

Aleksandrina Yotova, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Aluminum cans are the most sustainable beverage package, reportedly outperforming plastic and glass bottles, as well as beverage cartons. They have the highest recycling rate and more recycled content than the other options. Consumers understand the efficiency of aluminum packaging.

“Being lightweight, stackable, and strong, cans allow brands to package and transport more beverages using less material (by weight) than plastic and glass bottles. Since beverage-makers can ship aluminum cans more efficiently, they could make transportation, energy, and cost savings, which translates to a more affordable end product.”

Consumers who make efforts to recycle product packaging as much as possible are likely to see canned water as a viable alternative to bottled water due to its high level of recyclability. According to GlobalData’s 2016 Q3 global consumer survey, the highest ratio of active recyclers is found in North America (78%) and Europe (66%).

Yotova adds: “Canned water is a logical extension of the trend for healthy and sustainable living among younger consumers. There are opportunities for manufacturers to target the millennial generation, especially in the developed world, with simple but elegant designs. These consumers want to associate themselves with the good cause of keeping the environment clean.”

Analysts available for comment. Please contact the GlobalData Press Office at

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