The bottled drinking water industry is continuously booming. And this trend has not shown any sign of stopping yet. So, if you are planning to put up your own bottling water plant, now is the best time to get started. But before you invest in this economically viable business, it is wise to take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about the bottled water industry first. Knowing more information about the industry can help you make wise, well-informed business decisions.
Below are some of the bottled water industry FAQs.
Are all bottled water in the industry the same?
No. Though all bottled waters in the industry are intended for drinking purposes, they differ from each other in certain ways especially in terms of processing and water source. There are different types of bottled waters in India and other parts of the world. The most popular types are spring water, natural mineral water, and packaged or bottled drinking water.
How much is a bottle of drinking water sold in India?
As of the previous year, a one-litre bottle of natural mineral water is sold at around Rs 20 to Rs 125, depending on the brand. Whilst, a one-litre bottle of packaged drinking water costs around Rs. 10-12.
Is the bottled drinking water industry governed by law?
Yes. Bottled drinking water businesses fall under the “food” category which is closely regulated. In India, manufacturers need to obtain an ISI mark from the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) first and acquire necessary certifications, permits, and licensing before they can start setting up a processing unit. Packaged drinking water is governed under IS:14543, while natural mineral water is regulated under IS:13428.
Our bottled water plant has an ISI mark already, can we proceed with commercial production?
No. You can’t proceed with commercial production yet. Having only an ISI mark is not enough to start your plant’s operation. You still need to go through an official plant inspection, get an officially approved license number, complete tests done by a reliable and certified independent lab, and obtain all necessary licensing, permits, and certifications before you can commence commercial production. Otherwise, you may be sanctioned by the governing body and be required to pay costly penalties.
What licenses do I need to start setting up a bottled water plant?
The licenses and certifications you need for setting up a bottled water plant depend on your local governing body. In India, however, you need to obtain the following to commence commercial production:
- ISI certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
- Water test report from a registered, certified and authorized laboratory
- Certificates from chemist or microbiologist
- Small scale industries registration
- Ownership of land/lease of land documents
- Registration of trademark
- Electrical load sanction
- Pest control certification
- Pollution control certificate
- Medical certificates for workers
- Sanction layout plan
- Partnership deed or memorandum of association of companies (if applicable)
- NOC or no objection certificate from Gram Panchayat (if applicable)
Can I run a bottled drinking unit and a soft drink unit under one facility?
No. It is not permissible or advisable to set up both a bottled drinking unit and a soft drink unit in one facility. The ingredients used in manufacturing soft drinks may contaminate the equipment and the environment within the facility, which may affect the quality, taste, and smell of the bottled drinking water.
Is it necessary to have an in-house laboratory?
Yes. All drinking water plants are required to have their own laboratory within their facility.
Is it alright to partner with an independent lab instead of setting up an in-house laboratory?
Yes and no. Yes, your water source needs to be tested by an authorized independent lab before you can commence operation. However, it is also compulsory to have your own in-house laboratory and in-house expert microbiologists or chemists. The testing facility needs to be equipped with the necessary tools, devices, and equipment for microbiological, physical, and chemical tests, as prescribed by IS:3025.
What water source is needed for a drinking water plant?
The water source depends on the type of drinking water you want to produce. Natural mineral water is sourced directly from named groundwater with specified quality standards and is packed close to the source. It does not undergo any treatment or processing but it needs to be filtered to eliminate unstable elements.
Springwater is also sourced from named groundwater but it requires treatment within strict guidelines.
Whilst, bottled or packaged drinking water may come from any water source. The water should undergo disinfection and treatment to make it suitable for human consumption. The treatment process used for packaged drinking water often involves reverse osmosis, ozone or UV treatment, and/or filtration.