Our sector focus this week is feeding the workers, and an important factor for business and industry caterers is keeping the workforce hydrated, as Abbey Well managing director Tony Robson explains
Over the past two years (2006-07) the use of bottled water in the UK has increased, and a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor finds that consumers are increasingly choosing soft drinks, with consumption projected to increase through 2011. The report also analyses how consumers' changing hot and soft drink preferences are shaping the non-alcoholic drinks industry and opening up opportunities to market and sell healthy drinks.
Water is, of course, one of the healthiest options. As you might know, the human body is 70% water, and the average British body loses about 2.5 litres of water a day. While some of this is replaced by eating foods containing liquid, we still need to drink up to two litres a day to replace the lost water, as dehydration can affect brain function, nerve impulses, the transportation of oxygen and nutrients around the body, general wellbeing, temperature regulation, skin elasticity and the removal of toxins and waste from our bodies.
Consumers are now more health-aware than ever and understand the importance of hydration in a healthy diet. Many also realise that sipping water steadily is the best way to rehydrate, especially if the working environment is air-conditioned. So, by increasing the size of the bottled waters you offer in your impulse range from 500ml to 750ml or even one litre, you can give your customers a simple single-purchase solution to hydration throughout the day.
The big debate at the moment, of course, is whether tap water or bottled is best. Really, it's up to the consumer to weigh up their preferences. For instance, our mineral water fell as rain or snow before the age of pollution. The reason it has such a clean taste is because every drop has been naturally filtered through 315 million-year-old white sandstone for at least 3,000 years.
The choice has always been there - and it's right that people should have a choice - but it's down to whether the customers prefer to drink water that is made safe to drink by nature or by chemicals. To reduce water miles, just make sure you buy British.
Sources: Health Focus International Datamonitor report Consumer Hot and Soft Drink Preferences: New Trends & Future Perspectives