At the recent British Water Cooler Association event in the UK, it was revealed that the industry is looking at merging its bottled and mains-fed cooler associations to form one coherent voice for the industry.
Addressing the one-day conference, chairman John Dundon stated that there was now a renewed demand for one association: “We need one industry voice going forward and we are in preliminary discussions to try to achieve this before the end of 2012.”
Back in 2006 it was becoming apparent that the two industries (bottled water coolers and mains-fed coolers) were moving closer together. At that time, manufacturers were beginning to develop both types of machines. Distributors, keen to offer their services to a wide variety of customers, were also developing both arms of the business. Mains-fed coolers represented a small but fast-growing segment of the market.
Today, in the UK at least, the split is now closer to 50/50 and mains-fed machines are still making headway.
It will be interesting to see what the priorities will be for one association, which will need to cover a wide range of issues, not least boosting the healthy hydration message to consumers while maintaining excellent customer service and product innovation for increasingly sophisticated customers both in the office and home.