The UAE bottled water market is driven by an increasing urban population.
As per the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), the country is the thirstiest country in the region, with the highest temperature of 42 degrees in August, and the lowest temperature of 12 degrees in January. These climatic factors of the nation continue to drive the bottled water market.
According to Mordor Intelligence, the widening portfolio of functional water – the infused micronutrients, addition of appealing flavours and packaging level modification to create its aesthetic appeal, is driving the market for fortified/functional and flavoured water segment.
Functional water is set to receive major boost. Owing to strong category sales across various distribution channels and sales platforms, companies have started to look afresh in order to bring innovative solutions that spur the growth momentum.
Plastics are an inseparable part of modern society. However, their safe disposal is a big and highly challenging issue. A typical UAE resident uses 450 plastic water bottles on an average in a single year, a 2020 study by EcoMENA has shown. With the equivalent of 43 gallons on an average per person in 2011, the UAE had the fourth-highest level of bottled water consumption in the world.
A whopping 11 billion plastic bags are used annually, according to statistics from UAE’s Ministry of Environment and Water. This goes on to add up to an annual overall waste of 912.5 kilogram per capita. These statistics reflect on the extent of use of plastic bags and bottles in UAE and the consequent generation of plastic waste.
The UAE has initiated definitive corrective measures. The Ministry of Environment and Water has reported that it will ban circulation and marketing of non-biodegradable plastic products in the UAE from early next year.
Cyrus Alavi, co-founder of NÜWATER, explains what the sustainability-championing product has to offer to the UAE market.
Tell us a bit more about NÜWATER.
NÜWATER is the UAE’s first resealable canned water company, and a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bottles. Seeing the negative impact that plastic waste has on our environment, we decided we had to do something about it, putting the UAE at the forefront of sustainability.
The team at NÜWATER includes three likeminded childhood friends, who share a passion for reducing plastic waste. Together, we started NÜWATER, the canned water company that wants to prevent the eight million tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans every year – without sacrificing convenience and taste.
Who are your main HORECA clients and how do you work with them?
We’re in discussions with a number of hotel chains, and things are looking hugely positive as our product aligns with the sustainability drive that most hospitality brands have been increasingly focused on over the past few years.
Tell us more about sustainability and what it means for the brand.
The UAE is believed to have one of the highest rates of bottled water consumption in the world, with each resident drinking an average of 250 litres a year. It’s a staggering amount of plastic that’s being manufactured, all of which is adding to the problem of plastic pollution.
That’s why sustainability means everything to us because we must make a change now.
Continuing on the current path will lead to irreparable harm to our natural world. Aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable and use only 5% of the energy required to produce aluminium from its ore. That’s why NÜWATER provides a sustainable alternative to plastic bottled water, which is the foundation on which our brand is built.
What are some of the main challenges you’ve faced in the wake of COVID-19?
Launching a business in the middle of the COVD-19 pandemic poses unique challenges, especially in terms of logistics and building new partnerships. We briefly considered delaying our launch, but we quickly realised that this was not an option. That’s because the problem of plastic pollution isn’t going to wait, so why should we? The problem with plastic bottles has been ignored for far too long, and we wanted to get stuck in sooner rather than later.
What are your future plans?
We’re excited to launch our still water in the coming months.