The fountain of good health
Up to 100 kg of harmful chemicals pass through each of our bodies in our lifetime. Clean water is essential to help flush through such toxins, with 6-8 glasses recommended daily. Bottled water producers might see sales soar if we all followed this recommendation (at present, the average Belarusian consumes just 1.5–2 litres per month). Pleasingly, ideas are gradually changing
Domestic producers have been bottling water for some years now but mineral water sales are expected to fall drastically this year. Tatyana Tananayko, who heads the National Academy of Sciences’ Scientific-Practical Centre for Food, explains, “Since 2000, production of non-alcoholic drinks has grown in Belarus. Drinking water is selling well while mineral water sales are steady.” Nevertheless, Belarus consumes far less than most European states; last year, each Czech resident drank about 160 litres of non-alcoholic beverages, the Poles drank 120 litres and the Russians 60 litres. Belarusians buy just 30 litres per head. Experts say that our mentality is gradually changing, especially regarding drinking water.
Minsk residents are especially active and are even forming a new style of consumer behaviour. Producers who offer water delivery to offices and flats are also contributing to new trends; consumption is growing up to 100 per cent annually. In 2008, Belarus produced 741 metres litres of mineral water (almost 5 per cent less than in 2007). The segment is shared by three major producers (who account for 80-90 per cent of sales) — Darida, Frost and K and Minsk Bottling Plant. Belarusian mineral waters come in two strengths: table and remedial-table. “Those with low mineralisation are best for daily consumption — since you cannot overdose on their content,” stresses the Head of Frost and K’s Marketing Department, Eduard Churley.
According to estimates, Belarusian mineral water accounts for about 95 per cent of sales. Importers mainly sell remedial waters — which are more expensive. “Most deliveries come from Russia and Ukraine, followed by Georgia and Moldova,” explains Ms. Tananayko. “Generally, imports of mineral water to Belarus are growing.” Belarusians now have access to globally known brands — such as ‘Borjomi’, ‘Yessentuki’ and ‘Narzan’. Meanwhile, exports of mineral water are also rising — primarily, to Russia and the Baltic States. “Domestic products are popular among foreign consumers, owing to their natural origin. As regards their taste and quality, these create no obstacles for export,” smiles Mr. Churley.
Mineral water cannot be transported abroad unless bottled and, of course, transportation costs must pay for themselves. Belarusian water can compete on the EU market in terms of price and companies with European quality certificates are now negotiating increased deliveries to foreign partners.