Bottled water is about to surpass milk in terms of per-capita consumption.
In 2002, the average American consumed 21.2 gallons of bottled water, compared to 21.9 gallons of milk (based on latest sales figures). The numbers for 2003 aren't out yet, but rapid growth rates for bottled water suggest that it's only a matter of time before it surpasses milk.
In an address to the International Dairy Foods Association last week, IDFA president and CEO Connie Tipton called the bottled water situation "sobering." She suggested that the dairy industry rid itself of inefficiencies — specifically, some of the Federal Milk Marketing Order apparatus — and embrace innovation.
Learn how bottled water promotes itself
Bottled water sales are growing at a rapid rate. Between 1992 and 2002, per-capita consumption of bottled water grew in the United States by 116 percent.
Bottled water does not promote itself generically like milk does. Rather, it relies on the consumer establishing brand loyalty with bottled water manufacturers.
Gary Hanman, CEO of Dairy Farmers of America, questioned the generic advertising approach last week at the International Dairy Foods Association annual meeting. He said the dairy industry is at a "real crossroads" when it comes to generic promotion of milk. Millions of dollars are poured into generic advertising of milk each year, yet per-capita consumption of milk is on the decline.