Premier Waters, distributor of Evian and Volvic still mineral waters, is launching a premium own-label water in the face of increasing price pressure in the UK bottled water market.
The new water, available in both still and sparkling varieties, will be offered to multiple retailers as an own-label brand. It will be offered to independents and wholesalers under the brand name Val Blanc.
The French water will be more expensive than other own-label waters, which are often English and Scottish waters, with the intention of persuading retailers to drop the lower priced brands.
Premium mineral water brands have come under increasing pressure in the UK as sales of cheaper, own-label products grow in volume.
Premier Waters quotes Nielsen figures to show own-label sales account for 40 per cent of the bottled still water market, up from just over 35 per cent in 1993. The company says total market growth last year was 18 per cent by volume but only 14 per cent by value.
Premier Waters also says prices of imported brands increased by 1p a litre last year while the price of British brands and own-label waters fell.
Volvic and Evian together take about one-third of the still water market.