Mineral water sales in the Italian off-trade channel grew by 6.4% in value to €886 million between January-May 2022 compared to the same period last year, according to latest data from the Mineral Water Monitor survey.
The survey from the Nomisma Observatory is based on NielsenIQ data from 1,000 Italian buyers of packaged water in the hypermarket, supermarket, discount and independent channels.
The market continued to grow after contracting during the COVID-19 pandemic and witnessed a recovery in consumption in 2021 (+4.9% compared with 2020).
Despite the encouraging data, the survey warns that the coming months may not be rosy and uncertainties are looming over the market due to the current economic situation.
These include both rising inflation and declining forecasts on spending on food and beverages, with the heaviest reductions affecting out-of-home consumption.
This decline will be especially evident in the autumn, when the effect of 'away from home' consumption, driven by holidays and tourism, ceases, the study noted.
Sales of 'functional waters', i.e. those enriched with elements that are 'useful to the body', have grown by more than 20% in the large-scale retail channel in Italy, data showed.
Although it still represents a niche, comprising less than 1% of value sales of bottled water, functional waters continue to witness double-digit growth rates.
Although they are consumed by only 4% of Italians, 13% of those polled claim they would like to try functional waters in the coming months.
After witnessing growth of 1% in 2021, the first quarter of 2022 saw Italian mineral water exports increasing by 33% compared to the same period in 2021.
Exports are booming, both to the UK (+77%) and to the USA (+46%), where Italy holds a 36% market share. It is mainly driven by sparkling mineral water, which accounts for 89% of the total Italian mineral water exports in terms of value.
Elsewhere, exports to Germany (+12%) and Switzerland (+23%) also witnessed growth, while France remained flat.
After a 3.7% drop in 2020, consumption of bottled mineral water in restaurants and bars in Italy began to regain share and exceeded 136 million hl (+4.9% compared to 2020), data showed.