As consumers increasingly understand the impact of what they drink and eat on their health & wellbeing, they are looking for solutions. Bottled water gives retailers a key to offer a customer solution, as well as premiumise the category, with a subsequent boost to their own returns.

UK consumers are growing their awareness of the need to eat and drink healthily and how their diet can affect their overall physical and mental wellbeing, as well as their long-term health goals.

Research suggests that many of the nation’s consumers are aligned with healthy consumption objectives. An article from Mintel earlier this year, which examined the global trends driving the evolution of healthy eating, highlighted a shift towards health-conscious eating, particularly since Covid, and cited 68% of UK consumers claiming to be eating healthily all or most of the time. These insights are backed up findings from Statista, which looked, by generation, at consumers who actively try to eat healthily in the UK in 2022/23, with 65% of Baby Boomers being the most active on this front, followed by Gen X and Millennials (both at 62%) and Gen Z (57%)1.

Moreover, recent media reports suggest that consumers are being encouraged by experts to turn away from ultra-processed food, citing worrying concerns over their effect on health.

However, as the current economic climate puts a financial strain on UK consumers’ pockets, there is a possibility that they will prioritise value and convenience over the healthier aspects of their diet. According to the BBC’s 2023 Good Food Nation Report, which surveyed 2,103 UK consumers aged 16 and over about their food shopping and eating habits, over a quarter (28%) reported eating less healthily because it’s “too expensive to do so”.

By contrast, nearly one-third (31%) of respondents said the cost of living had not impacted their healthy eating habits at all. And the study concluded that saving money and eating healthily were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Indeed, the desire to improve physical health and mental wellbeing is still encouraging consumers to choose healthier options, functional foods and natural products, according to research by BUPA, which noted: “UK consumers are increasingly aware that health & wellbeing is affected by diet and are willing to pay a premium for products that can deliver that.” 

The health paradox

While UK consumers’ overarching ambition to pursue a more consciously healthy food and drink intake is clear, this sits somewhat paradoxically with data that indicates growing health concerns on obesity, diabetes and heart disease among the population.

For example, according to Diabetes UK, the number of people living with diabetes has topped five million for the first time. Meanwhile, Blood Pressure UK has highlighted the interconnected ways in which salt affects the body, including raised blood pressure, lost calcium from bones and changes to fat metabolism.

And a recent article in The Guardian cited the World Health Organization recommendation of capping salt intake at 5g a day, and keeping it even lower if possible, due to the body of evidence linking sodium intake to high blood pressure – in turn a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

So how can retailers encourage consumers in their efforts to consume a healthy diet despite the current financial challenges – and, at the same time, boost their own revenues?

According to AQUA Carpatica PR and trade communications director Alina Balatchi-Lupascu, there is a delicate balance to be achieved between consumer desires for minimally processed, nutritionally enriched food and drink, the pursuit of premium quality amid economic constraints, as well as the realities of maintaining a health-conscious lifestyle on a budget and making informed choices without compromising on quality.

Also, despite some harsh health-related realities in the UK, the industry can benefit in a double stance: by supporting and catering to the demand for smart, health-conscious choices while also premiumising the category and attracting savvy shoppers, resulting in higher average spend per basket – and thus bringing in higher incremental margin, she says.

How natural mineral water can help

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With water making up on average around 60% of the body in males and 50-55% in females, it is vital to human health and essential for bodily functions.

Propelled by a rising consumer interest in health & wellness, studies suggest that the functional water market is estimated to grow at over 6.8% CAGR from 2023 to 2032. Yet in tandem with that is consumers’ desire for clarity of provenance and clean-label living, which may make them “sceptical about the efficacy and legitimacy of [some] functional water products”.

However, one completely natural option with beneficial attributes for health and already available to consumers in bottled format is mineral water. As an article by journalist Namrata Kohli pointed out earlier this year, mineral water is the healthiest option as it comes from natural underground reservoirs and has a higher mineral content of calcium, magnesium and potassium.

At AQUA Carpatica, there is clear recognition of the benefits of natural mineral water to the body. The company’s products, in both sparkling and still formats, are sourced deep in the Carpathian Mountains, with no agricultural or industrial activity in the surrounding areas.

While some bottled waters can be high in sodium, which has been clearly identified as having links to health issues if consumed to excess, AQUA Carpatica’s nitrate-free waters are extremely low in sodium. Its sparkling mineral water has a high concentrate of calcium (24% of the adult’s daily needs per litre and 77mg/l of magnesium – which plays a central role in metabolic, muscular and cardiovascular health – while the brand’s still water contains 52mg/l of calcium and 17mg/l of magnesium.

According to the company, consuming a naturally sparkling mineral water with natural bicarbonates, such as AQUA Carpatica, neutralises excessive gastric acidity, stimulates digestion and metabolism and delivers natural electrolytes to the body. This contrasts with soda water, which the company says has no minerals and can induce a high level of acidity in the stomach.

Balatchi-Lupascu points out that these distinct qualities set its waters apart, with quality, purity and health benefits to the fore. Not only that, but it offers retailers the opportunity to support their customers’ health decisions while premiumising the water category, by positioning the brand as the high-quality choice in their selection, and with the potential for increased margin. “Collaborating with us not only aligns partners with a premium brand, but also taps into a base of loyal consumers, adding significant value and profitability through the concept of ‘value through premiumisation’,” she says.

With a recent strapline encouraging consumers to ‘taste the water that loves you back’, AQUA Carpatica is proud of the purity and superior quality of its waters – along with the benefits that these can bring to both retailers and their customers.

To find out more about AQUA Carpatica and its selection of sparkling or still waters, contact Victor Dragoi, director for business development, on or visit

1 Statista Consumer Insights, UK, conducted between 05.04.22 to 23.03.23, n=24,190 covers the residential online population