China Has Eclipsed the U.S. as Largest Consumer of Bottled Water: Chart

China overtook the U.S. as the largest consumer of bottled water by volume in 2013, with China Resources Beer Holdings Co. and Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. among the domestic producers battling global leaders Danone SA, Nestle SA and Coca-Cola Co. for shelf space. Chinese demand for the plastic-based resin used in bottles is forecast to match that of North America and Western Europe combined within five years. With worldwide sales of bottled water rising to $191 billion last year, according to Euromonitor International, and U.S. consumption exceeding carbonated soft drinks for the first time, there’s plenty at stake for not only beverage companies, but also petrochemical producers, packaging companies and environmentalists, who have linked human health problems to chemicals that leach from plastic containers.  

— With assistance by Lee J Miller

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