The tremendous rise in US bottled water consumption has resulted in significant caloric savings, according to a new study from the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC). As Americans have increasingly opted for calorie-free bottled water instead of other beverages, they have collectively cut 61 to 68 trillion calories over the past 15 years (2000-2015).

“Bottled water’s ascent has been driven in large part by America’s move to healthier beverage choices, which has effectively resulted in calorie savings for all Americans,” said Michael Bellas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Beverage Marketing Corporation. “To put this in perspective, imagine a person cutting 161 hot dogs, 126 chocolate donuts or 87 cheeseburgers from their diet last year. That’s the kind of difference we’re talking about when we quantify the number of calories saved due to this widespread shift to bottled water.”*

Growth Category

Over the past two decades, bottled water has been the leading growth category in the US beverage market:

• Total volume exceeded 11.7 billion gallons in 2015, up from 4.7 billion in 2000.

• Individual bottled water consumption soared during this period, from 16.7 gallons per person in 2000 to 36.7 gallons per person in 2015. This represents a 120% increase.

By contrast, all other liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs) combined declined in both total volume and individual consumption over the same time period:

• Combined volume of non-bottled water LRBs, including carbonated soft drinks, fruit beverages, energy drinks, sports beverages, ready-to-drink coffee and tea, and all forms of milk, decreased from 27 billion gallons to 25.8 billion gallons. • Individual consumption of these beverages combined dropped from 95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons per person, a 16.3% decline.

“Bottled water already outsells, by volume, carbonated soft drinks in many US cities, and we expect that it will very soon become the most consumed beverage product nationwide,” noted Gary Hemphill, Managing Director – Research, Beverage Marketing Corporation.

Calories Saved

In an analysis of these developments, BMC attempted to quantify the calories saved by consumers over this 15-year period as they chose bottled water over other, more caloric beverages. The analysis found that:

• On average, an individual saved between 24,000 and 27,000 calories in 2015 as compared to 2000.

• That translated to a daily savings of between 64 and 74 calories per person in 2015.

“Caloric savings of this magnitude is rarely achieved by any food or beverage category,” added Bellas. “As health-conscious consumers continue to select bottled water in the years ahead, both they and the bottled water industry will feel the benefits of this choice.”

Access the complete report, “Bottled Water’s Impact on US Caloric Intake.”