Economy, Domestic Economy

Bottled-Water Industry Growing Up in Iran

About 1-1.5 billion liters of water are bottled in Iran every year.
About 1-1.5 billion liters of water are bottled in Iran every year.

Only less than 3% of Iranians are consumers of bottled water and that’s because 95% of the population have access to tap water, the secretary of Iran’s Mineral and Bottled Water Association said.

“Iranians drink close to 15 liters of bottled water annually whereas per capita consumption of all Persian Gulf neighboring countries exceeds 100 liters. Turkish people drink around 140 liters of bottled water a year,” Peyman Forouhar also told the Persian monthly Ayandehnegar, a publication of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

Some 95% of the domestic bottled water industry is owned by private-run companies that were mostly set up in the 2000s.

“The emergence of bottled water in Iran dates back to 1971 when the first factories, Amolo and Damavand, opened their factories. But the culture of drinking bottled water in Iran began to take root around a decade ago. Business owners in this field have no trouble remembering the time supermarkets placed orders for bottled water every 20 days. Now they receive orders on a daily basis,” he added.

The renovation of the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure would carry a heavy price tag and take a long time. In addition, water leakage exceeds 30% of water in the supply system. These flaws would make bottled water the eventual replacement for tap water.

The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has registered about 140 producers of bottled water, mostly in the 2000s.

To set up a bottled water factory, Forouhar said, you need to invest at least 100 billion rials ($2.6 million).

Technology of these plants, even that of bottle making is largely imported from European countries. Half-liter bottles constitute close to 45% of bottled water production of Iranian factories.

“A four-member household will see a 700,000-rial ($18.6) rise to its monthly expenditure if it decides to switch to bottled water … Iranian people drink as little as 15 liters of bottled water annually compared with 35 liters of soft drinks, suggesting that our people have not noticed the importance of eating and drinking healthily,” he said.

Forouhar added that about 1-1.5 billion liters of water are bottled in Iran every year.

All bottled water is not the same. Natural water means no minerals or chemicals have been removed or added to the product. Purified refers to processes that remove chemicals and pathogens. Some bottled water originates from the municipal water supply and is purified before bottling.

The bottled water industry is considered a lucrative business worldwide. In 2015, its market value was estimated at $170 billion and it is predicted to have a 9.5% growth by 2022, reaching over $319 billion. Today, Americans consume the most bottled water in any country—upwards of 25 billion liters a year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.

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