If you wish to sell bottled drinking water in England.
The beverage market can provide plenty of opportunities for farmers. They can use their natural resources. Although bottled water companies are a considerable investment at first, they can bring greater profits than some agriculture.

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The beverage market can provide plenty of opportunities for farmers. They can use their natural resources.
Although bottled water companies are a considerable investment at first, they can bring greater profits than some agriculture.
This guide is for individuals or businesses who wish to sell bottled drinking water in England.
Enter the market:

If you wish to sell bottled drinking water in England.


How is the market?

Bottled water has grown one of the biggest success stories in the food & beverage industry. All because of advertising and marketing.

“The demand for bottled water has grown over the past few decades,” said Dr Peter Glake. The author of the book “Bottled and Sold.”

The UK water and beverage market peaked in 2018 due to the summer heatwave. And fell slightly in 2019, although it is still higher than 2017.

In 2019, excluding water dispensers and water dispenser sales fell by 3.1% to 3.5 billion liters. At the same time, the value fell 2.5% to 2.7 billion pounds.

Zenith Global expects that the drinking water market will continue to grow strongly. Still, the growth rate will be lower than in recent years. Zenith Global’s projected annual growth rate for 2023 is 3-5%.

The UK soft drink industry tax (which took effect in April 2018) seems to have a limited impact on this category. Most manufacturers of products are reformulating to avoid taxation. Such as flavoring or functional products.

But, the challenge comes from the pressure to improve environmental conditions.

Robin Bell, a senior consultant at Zenith Global, said: “The debate about plastics and recycling may still be at a stage of concern. And we expect that packaging of alternative materials will become more mainstream.”


Where can bottled water be sold?

There are many small water producers in the area. Supermarkets sometimes contact local suppliers. Many people think that supermarkets are the goal. Still, there are requirements to provide them with goods. And it is best to establish local loyalty first. Restaurants and hotels also like local products. 

Traditional distribution channels: include

  • Grocery wholesaler
  • General Line Grocery Merchant Wholesalers
  • Beer, wine, and distilled spirits
  • Tobacco and tobacco product wholesalers



What type of water is there?

Bottled drinking water means not labeled or sold as:

  • Natural mineral water
  • spring

Sometimes called drinking water.

You can bottle this water from any source, including public and private sources, as long as:

  • Your water meets the rules in this guide
  • You will not mislead consumers about its source

You can sell it to consumers in bottles or other containers, for example:

  • tetra packaging and carton
  • Drinking fountain
  • pouch

You do not need to state the composition of water on the label.

You can use any treatment method, and there is no need to list the treatment method on the label.

Bottled drinking water natural mineral water must:

From a named groundwater source.

Get the proper quality from the ground without processing. That would change its natural characteristics. Can filter out unstable elements and add carbon dioxide to make sparks.

Maintain chemical stability over a period of time after two years of testing. It has proved that there is no seasonal change.

Springwater must meet similar quality standards and come from a designated groundwater source. Still, it can be processed within strict guidelines.

Bottled drinking water can be taken from groundwater or tap water. It can be treated to ensure that it meets the required quality standards.

The water is packed in 

  • small glass bottles, 
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET), 
  • cans, 
  • or recyclable cooling bottles.


How do you start?

Check the water quality, consistency, and replenishment through rainfall.

To get the state of spring water or natural mineral water, some processes are required.

The local authority is the regulator. And must consult with hydrogeological experts to check. 

  • Whether the water source is suitable for spring water or natural mineral water. 
  • And whether any certification is required.

Soda water and still water each have their own quality requirements. However, flavored water and functional water can be sold at higher prices. They add complexity and cost.


What about the license?

Besides water extraction, the UK’s bottled water regulations cover the sale of packaged water. That’s to ensure the product’s purity and safety.

Bottled water is considered packaged food. So producers need to has a food safety management system based on HACCP principles. 


  • tracking and tracing, 
  • recall procedures, 
  • sample testing, 
  • preservation, 
  • training records, 
  • health checks of employees and visitors, 
  • hygiene standards, 
  • equipment, 
  • and prerequisites.

Follow national product labeling regulations.

Meet the standards of the British Retail Association (or similar trade organization). And continue to conduct site audits.

Bring appropriate product liability insurance.

The specific steps are

Apply to the local authority of the area where the water is extracted. To register the bottled drinking water business.

Test your bottled drinking water-it must meet chemical, microbiological, and radioactive material restrictions.

Follow the labeling rules for bottled drinking water.

Local authorities will

When you are allowed to start producing and selling bottled drinking water

Local authorities will:

  • View test records
  • Make sure you understand and follow all rules

When they are satisfied with your bottled water, they will register your company and confirm in writing.

After receiving this notification, you can start producing and selling bottled drinking water.


The test you need to perform on the water

You must test bottled drinking water and make sure it meets the following conditions:

It would be best to use a UKAS accredited laboratory that uses recognized methods to test the water.


Labeling rules

You should add one of the following terms to the label:

  • ‘water’
  • ‘drinking water.’

It would help if you did not use any of the following terms:

  • Natural mineral water
  • mineral water
  • spring

Brand name

You can give your water a brand name.

But, when using trademarks, do not mislead consumers about the source of water. For example, when the water comes from Devon, don’t call it “Somerset Landscape.”

It would be best if you also did not imply that water has properties that it does not. For example, when collecting water from a reservoir, do not call it the “Welsh Landscape.”


What equipment and resources are needed?

Spring and natural mineral water must be bottled from the source. So tankers cannot transport it to other bottling plants.

Whether changing a current building into a bottling plant or set up a new plant, planning permission is needed.

To extract water from the ground, a sanitary designed borehole or spring fetching structure will be required. 

A water extraction permit from the Environment Agency or the Welsh Natural Resources Corporation will be required.

Generally speaking, you will need:

  • Water treatment equipment

To filter the raw water to a certain extent according to the standards of regulation. And use ozone and ultraviolet to sanitize.

  • Bottle filling machine
  • Fill the purified water into the bottle. To think about energy efficiency, you will need to consider fully automated machines.
  • Bottle blow molding machine: an elegant bottle appearance can help you sell at a higher price. If you do not plan to buy empty bottles locally, you may need to have your own blowing machine. You will be able to produce any bottle design you want.
  • Code printer: can help you put the production batch and date. This is very helpful for quality control and production management.
  • Labeling machine: You will definitely want to put your own eye-catching LOGO on a beautifully designed bottle.
  • Shrink film wrapping machine: wrap a group of bottles with shrink film for more efficient transportation. The usual packaging method is 2 x 3, 3 x 4.

The above equipment will be enough to help you with daily bottled water production.

If you need to know more about this, please click here.


How much does it cost?

Costs vary, but to get a return on investment, the bottling plant must have a certain scale.

Food-grade piping must be used at all times, and the entire process must be spotless.

It usually requires 

  • properly constructed water sources, 
  • pipelines, 
  • bottling lines, 
  • internal testing laboratories, 
  • and warehouses.

If employees are hired, the employment conditions must meet the regulations.

The cost of establishing a reasonable-scale bottling plant is at least £2 million. 


  • water conservancy infrastructure, 
  • bottling plant equipment, 
  • and labels. 

Transportation, marketing, and staffing costs will be calculated separately.

It is strongly recommended that start-up manufacturers seek appropriate professional advice before investing in equipment and premises. Mistakes made in the beginning can be difficult and expensive to correct later.


What are the legal considerations?

In addition to the above requirements, normal business rules and regulations apply, such as employment law, VAT registration, planning regulations, and company law.


What are the tax considerations?

Same as other businesses. VAT is a fee charged on water, even if it is a natural product.


The best way of marketing?

The first and most important obstacle is determining what is special about water. Area, story, quality, characteristics, and why customer replaces competitors to store and consume water.

Differentiation is definitely the key. There are clear reasons to buy products in an already overcrowded market.

The second obstacle is commercial. Are you able to provide a better profit and return to the distributor than that they already sold?

Regarding the marketing of high-end water, “water sources should be unique and rare,” “selling lifestyles not water,” “telling stories,” “emphasizing high-quality and high-tech “… These views are correct, but maybe not Most fundamental.

High-end mineral water must be able to [sell like] high-end mineral water. First of all, it must look like high-end mineral water.

Sample of Evian

Evian means “water” in Latin and the theme of water around the town of Evian. As we all know, the majestic Alps behind it is the source of Evian Water. The modern water plant in the town takes in precious Evian water, which can be directly filled into the bottle without any manual treatment. This is also the theme of Evian has always been nature.

But, in recent years, Evian has bet on Snapchat, Instagram, and influencer marketing. Evian in the United States now spends 80% of its advertising budget on digital. Especially social media and search. It seems Evian has deviated from the concept of “pureness.” Still, Evian has gained a lot from breaking traditional marketing channels.

Through digital marketing, Evian conveys the status information to consumers. Water is an extension of your identity and what you are talking about.

Please click below to watch the production process of bottled water production.

John Lau.

John Lau.

John Lau, a project manager holding an engineering bachelor's degree, became fascinated with optimizing beverage production equipment during his university days. As an overseas project manager, he firmly believes that educating clients on achieving efficient workflows through customized equipment design is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.

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