Top Trends from Water Quality Association (WQA) 2019 Las Vegas
By James Peterson
The Water Quality Association recently held its annual trade show in Las Vegas, bringing together point of use water system professionals, distributors, and suppliers. Having attended this year’s event, our team observed three important trends in water quality:
Sparkling water grows in POU
More and more domestic and foreign suppliers are coming to this event with POU dispensers that feature sparkling water systems. Interestingly, fewer than six percent of POU dispensers had this option in the U.S. in 2016. Clearly, demand for this feature is growing, and was affirmed in April when Pepsi announced that they would bring new POU sparkling beverage machines to market through their acquisition of Sodastream.
Ice hygiene gives foreign brands an opening in U.S. market
When it comes to ice making for hospitality and light commercial use, foreign brands are striving for more market share in the US, which has long been controlled by a small set of equipment suppliers. Focusing on consumers’ rising concerns around water quality issues and their preference for ‘crunchy’ ice, new market entrants are leveraging expertise in water purification and disinfection to bring modern equipment to this space. Most products focused on earning volume by matching ice making capacity sizes to office, hospitality, and small food service establishments.
Increasing access to bacterial testing catches distributors off-guard
It’s becoming easier and cheaper to test water for bacterial content from a beverage dispenser or point of use purification system. Test kit suppliers and distributors have released quick bacterial tests to help domestic, commercial end users verify the quality of their water which, in turn, can help them evaluate the quality of their chosen purification system. This has caught dispenser distributors and systems installers off-guard in Europe and the U.S. In fact, large cooler operators report that some of their commercial customers have been independently testing installed coolers for microbial hygiene and asking for solutions that eliminate the threat of microorganisms in dispensed water. While operators and distributors can satisfy this demand when it comes to new cooler installations, they must also find a way to address this need in the nearly six million legacy coolers installed across the U.S. and EU.
One way to address this need is by incorporating UVC LED disinfection systems into water coolers. Equipping water coolers with a solution such as the Klaran WR Series UVC LED Reactor, for example, would ensure that unit dispenses hygienic water.
Taken together, these trends reveal that companies who provide purification products for domestic, commercial customers are competing to increase their value in the U.S. End users who once had significant trust in their municipal water are moving away from the low-cost hardware store options that serve the U.S. market. As the market grows and water quality incidents rise, major brands and regional water professionals alike have ample opportunities to provide reliable solutions.