In recent years, Dutch consumers have been drinking more and more prepackaged water and less soft drinks. This is evident from figures published by the Dutch Association of Soft Drinks Waters and Juices (FWS) on Wednesday.

From 2011 to last year, the consumption of mineral water, with or without flavor, has increased by almost 40 percent. Soft drink sales fell by nearly a quarter over the same period.

According to FWS, flavored water in particular has been on the rise since 2013. "This is often seen as an alternative to soft drinks." It has been common practice abroad for some time to drink prepackaged water, but thanks to the good quality of Dutch tap water, sales in the Netherlands have always lagged behind.

"It now seems that the Netherlands has also embraced flat, sparkling and flavored bottled or packaged water." In 2011, almost 330 million liters of water was sold, last year that was 483 million liters. In 2018 it was even more. "That was an extreme peak that had everything to do with the warm summer of 2018," said an FWS spokesperson.

'Adding flavors to water is an important driving force behind growth'

Water is seen as a good thirst quencher and it is seen as healthy, according to research into drinking habits by FWS. "Although at first glance there does not seem to be much renewal or improvement in mineral water, innovations such as adding natural flavors are indeed an important driver behind the growth of the category as a whole," says the trade association.

Many consumers find flavored water just a bit better, according to the research. "More than half of the drinkers of flavored waters choose this drink because it contains fewer calories and sugar than traditional carbonated soft drinks." According to FWS, flavored water contains no sugar and no calories.

Spadel, from Spa, expects the corona crisis this year to throw a spanner in the works with regard to the upward trend in the total volume sold. "Large packaging continues to grow, especially because people are now at home a lot. On the go packaging is under pressure because consumers are less on the road."

'Hope for recovery from warm weather'

The Spa producer hopes that the warm weather of recent times will bring recovery. "We also fear that this will not reach the level of recent years." Spadel also sees that flavored water without bubbles is a real trend

The sale of soft drinks, waters and juices has increased again in recent years after consumption fell since the previous crisis. Growth started again from 2018. This is not only about soft drinks, water and juice, also energy drinks, sports drinks, iced tea and syrup fall under the categories that FWS represents.