Factors influencing the consumption and standards of bottled drinking water in Nairobi – Kenya
AbstractIn the wake of several major infections involving food and water, there is a growing concern for the safety and quality of drinking water. Thus, a number of companies and industries in Kenya and other developed countries have come up with bottled/packaged drinking water for sale to a wide range of consumers particularly those in urban areas. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of consumption, brand choice, perceived reasons for consumption, standards and average monthly expenditure on bottled/packaged water among Nairobi residents. The
study was guided by Aaker’s model of perceived quality. Using a cross-sectional study design, information was collected from a random sample of 120 consumers visiting key supermarkets in Nairobi city center and its suburbs and ten water-bottling companies. Data were analyzed using
SPSS and descriptive statistics were used in establishing relationships between variables. Findings indicate that bottled/packaged water is consumed by 87.5% of those visiting major supermarkets. For majority (65%) of the consumers, taste, convenience, fashion/status, safety and potential health benefits are important considerations. Dasani, Keringet, Kilimanjaro and Aquamist were the most popular brands. The brand choices were influenced by price, availability and media advertisements. More than half (61.5%) of the consumers indicated spending (approximately 9.6%) of their monthly income on bottled water. Nearly all the surveyed companies had no standardized drinking water quality guidelines. Majority of Nairobi residents consume bottled water which may be an indication that accessing safe drinking water is a major challenge for many consumers, particularly those in the urban areas. There is need for nutrition education for the consumers and local guidelines/standards should be set to govern the bottling and marketing of drinking water in
Nairobi and other urban towns in the country. However, improving and expanding existing water treatment systems may be sustainable in the long term.