So it is with a bit of chagrin that we report today on the newest trends in bottled water in Japan:Suntory, Japanese whiskey company and market leader in bottle water (Tennensui water), has added a new twist to consumer demand for water in bottles. "Mizumizushia" has been on the market since March 2005, selling at about 3.80 U.S. Dollars per 2-liter bottle. The water, riding on the Japanese health boom, contains deep seawater and dietary fiber, which is claimed to reduce the absorption of suger if it is consumed with meals, helping to control a rise in blood sugar related to diabetes. The deep sea water is also rich in magnesium, replenishing a mineral which many diabetics lack.
Proving that this is a trend and not an isolated case, competitor House Foods Corp started selling "Mineralist" containing zinc, copper and iron, and claimed to reduce the risk of osteoporosis for women. House Foods has been also been selling water with dietary fiber since 2004.
A three-fold increase in the sales of bottled waters over the last decade, with double digit growth rates (11 percent since 2004, predicted to be repeated in this year) reflects not only new domestic products, but also the import of high-end European waters such as Volvic, imported by Kirin Breweries, which has exceeded the market average with 14% growth since last year. Although Japanese consumption of bottled water is still low relative to European and American patterns, Japan seems to be joining the trend towards resource-intensive sources for life's most important ingredient.
For a good link in English to learn more about Japan's 100 remarkable waters, see Global Water K.K.