Fortuna (Mineracqua): “Bottled water prices could rise, production costs worry”

The prices of water bottles could increase if the price increases linked to raw materials and energy continue, with the real risk that some of the 300 Italian labels may exit the market. The alarm was raised by Ettore Fortuna, vice president of Mineracqua, the Federation which within Confindustria brings together 70% of the Italian mineral water market, for a total turnover of 2.9 billion euros. “Our concern is not the market – explains Fortuna to Adnkronos -. We are concerned about the production costs. Everything has increased in an unsustainable way, starting with methane gas, which has increased by 417%. Pet used for bottles has also increased by 92%, as has paper, with a price doubling, not to mention wood for pallets which has risen by 108%, or transport, which has increased by 20%. Not only are we faced with enormous costs but also faced with the fact that the material is not there “. Italy, together with France and Germany, is among the top producing countries of natural mineral water. In a research on the consumption habits of Italians, Censis associates mineral water with the Italian way of life: 9 out of 10 Italians (90.3%) drink mineral water, while 8 out of 10 (79.7%) consume more half a liter per day. “In 2021 there was a peak of increase in the large-scale distribution channel, of about 2.5% – underlines Fortuna -. In this context, the discounter grew by 4.3%. Added to this is the fact that Italy is the country where water costs less than the rest of the world. The first price is 11 cents per bottle, the premium is 38/40 cents “. On average, a family spends “110 to 230 euros a year” on mineral water but the consumer could soon see the price rise. “Certainly it is something that can happen – highlights Fortuna. However, this need to adjust prices with the sharp increase in costs would then be reduced to the level of one cent more. Our challenge is low prices and high volumes. But if prices are not competitive and volumes are less then we have difficulty staying on the market ”. The Mineracqua associates, Fortuna remarked, “negotiate price increases but here the situation is serious”. Already last December Mineracqua raised the alarm that the increase in the costs of raw materials, materials and transport was bringing them to their knees “and with the war in Ukraine the situation has worsened”, notes Fortuna. But the concerns of the Federation they also concern ongoing investments and those linked to sustainability. “We are continuing to invest in sustainability and these investments are difficult to make – explains Fortuna – because the financial situation of our companies is what it is”. In the meantime, “the government – recalls Fortuna – we have made a request to reduce VAT. Ours, at 22%, is abnormal compared to Europe. In France it is 5.5% and if it were already reduced to 10% it would be a benefit for the consumer and would give oxygen to us and wholesalers ”.