Bottled Water Reporter (May/June 2021)

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W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G


IN THIS ISSUE Industry Issues Work Habits of of Interest to Successful Route Legislators Salespeople

Water's Important Role in a Healthy Diet




STRATEGIC STAFFING How to hire and retain top candidates for route sales positions

Also Inside:

How Industry's COVID-19 Response Will Have a Lasting Impact on Business Operations


VOL. 61 • NO. 3


24 | Focus on Bottled Water Issues Expected to Intensify Read up on the issues IBWA expects to garner more attention from legislators. COMMUNICATIONS

26 | The Secrets of Award-Winning Route Salespeople Learn the work habits that can help you earn the title Route Salesperson of the Year. TECHNICAL UPDATE

28 | Latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans Continues to Recognize the Important Role of Water in a Healthy Diet "Drink more water" is good advice–no matter what your age. BY THE NUMBERS

32 | The COVID Impact How the pandemic has affected consumer work preferences, purchasing behaviors, and more.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 10 | Strategic Staffing How to hire and retain top candidates for route sales positions For bottled water companies looking to fill route sales positions at their home and office delivery (HOD) operations, recruiting candidates who understand what it means to work “bottled water hard” isn’t an easy task—but the tips provided in this article can help. By Christine Umbrell

17 | COVID-19: One Year Later How HOD bottlers have worked, learned, and grown The U.S. economic landscape looks much different now compared to a year ago when the country was reeling from the full impact of COVID-19. Bottled water businesses have adjusted to new purchasing and consumption habits, and implemented new operating procedures for the safety of employees and customers. How many of those changes will stay in place in a post-pandemic world? By Chris Torres

CHAIR'S COMMENTARY ......................................2 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ......................................4 WATER NOTES ....................................................6 CPO QUIZ .........................................................30 ADVERTISERS ...................................................31 CALENDAR .......................................................31


BOTTLED WATER REPORTER, Volume 61, Number 3. Published six times a year by The Goetz Printing Company, 7939 Angus Court, Springfield, VA, 22153, for the International Bottled Water Association, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213, Fax: 703.683.4074, Subscription rate for members is $25 per year, which is included in the dues. U.S. and Canadian subscription rate to nonmembers is $50 per year. International subscription rate is $100 per year. Single copies are $7. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Bottled Water Reporter, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973.


A year after the start of the pandemic, businesses continue to assess how consumer attitudes have changed and how behaviors that started during COVID-19 will persist as life returns to “normal.” Today’s consumers are digitally accelerated, hyper-resourceful, and more mindful than ever. We will see new winners and new losers in a transformed marketplace. One thing is clear: Conventional wisdom and assumptions no longer hold in a post-COVID America. Consider these realities from recent Harris Poll data: • 73% of consumers say COVID has “forever changed the way I shop” • 43% say they are making fewer trips to the store • E-commerce spending grew 44% last year—three times the average annual growth rate of the

past decade • 72% say the food and beverage industry is doing a particularly good job with

digital adaptation. The good news: Those new behaviors and attitudes, combined with our standing as a critical supply chain item during the early days of the pandemic, and, more recently, the winter storm in Texas, suggest that our industry will not just maintain a strong place in the market but has the potential to grow. To do so, we must continue to operate with the same resilience, creativity, and commitment to innovation that carried us through the pandemic. When considering growth opportunities, home and office delivery and retail sectors hold particular promise. Likewise, the digital-first reality we live in, coupled with a growing consumer focus on convenience and health, are clear-cut opportunities that our industry should lean into aggressively. Of course, with opportunity comes challenge. What’s also clear in a post-COVID world is the growing importance among consumers and communities for water to be responsibly sourced and sustainably packaged. The bottled water industry has a proven track record as a good steward of the environment. Heightened consumer focus on environmental issues presents another reason why we must continue to work together and be part of the solution by taking action on recycling, reducing plastic waste, and conserving energy and land. We also need to be unified when it comes to advocacy and engagement. Policies being debated at the state and local level could have a profound impact on our ability to operate in a post-COVID marketplace. I urge all IBWA members to become involved in our government relations activities and help us shape these critical debates. If you are not sure how or where to get involved, contact IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin: Being involved also means attending and participating in our IBWA meetings. During our next meeting, being held virtually June 8-10, we are counting on your participation as we focus on IBWA’s plans for the second half of the year. I am more confident than ever in the growth opportunity we collectively have ahead. Thank you for your support of IBWA, and I look forward to our continued work and progress together.



International Bottled Water Association OFFICERS Chair Tara Carraro, BlueTriton Brands Vice Chair C.R. Hall, Hall's Culligan Treasurer Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Immediate Past Chairman Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Shayron Barnes-Selby, Primo Water North America Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America Tara Carraro, BlueTriton Brands C.R. Hall, Hall's Culligan Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Doug Hidding, Blackhawk Molding Co. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Kari Mondt, Allied Purchasing Jillian Olsen, Cherry Ridge Consulting LLC David Redick, Steelhead, Inc. Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc. Brad Wester, Premium Waters, Inc. William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc.

IBWA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair Tara Carraro, BlueTriton Brands Shayron Barnes-Selby, Primo Water North America Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America C.R. Hall, Hall’s Culligan Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Henry R. Hidell, III, Hidell International Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS Communications Committee Julia Buchanan, Niagara Bottling, LLC Maureen Hendrix, Primo Water North America Education Committee Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Douglas R. Hupe, Aqua Filter Fresh Environmental Sustainability Committee John Cook, Niagara Bottling LLC Martie Curran, BlueTriton Brands Government Relations Committee Viola Johnson Jacobs, Primo Water North America Derieth Sutton, Niagara Bottling LLC. Membership Committee Marge Eggie, Polymer Solutions International Kelley Goshay, Primo Water North America State and Regional Associations Committee Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Supplier and Convention Committee Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Technical Committee Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Ryan Schwaner, Niagara Bottling, LLC

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Recently, perhaps more than ever, bottled water professionals have demonstrated the importance of the home and office delivery (HOD) segment to our industry. The COVID-19 pandemic threw us a curveball in early 2020, and our HOD bottlers and route salespeople have responded with the agility and dedication for which the bottled water industry is known. I have heard our bottler members say that it takes a special kind of person to work “bottled water hard”—and I think we’ve seen that in abundance this past year from our plant personnel and route salespeople. But how do you find people willing to work “bottled water hard”? To help our member bottlers find qualified candidates to fill those sometimes hard-to-fill route sales positions, Bottled Water Reporter (BWR) spoke with Luke Doubler, the founder and president of RecruiterCentral. In “Strategic Staffing” (p.10), Doubler notes the importance of being “audience aware” when promoting current job openings. Millennials and Gen Zers make up the majority of today’s candidate pool, so traditional efforts like attending in-person job fairs or posting on job boards no longer work. These potential employees are tech savvy, so you need to go where they are: social media. [And while we are discussing the route sales position, please take a look at our Communications column (p.26), which presents the habits of award-winning route salespeople.] In “COVID-19: One Year Later” (p.17), BWR reviews the many lessons our industry has learned from not only surviving but actually outpacing HOD sales projections that were amended due to the pandemic. Once again, our industry’s crisis management experience proved to be an asset, as we were able to swiftly strategize how best to meet the new needs of our customers. While all of us wonder about and plan for a postpandemic world, we know one thing: The bottled water industry will be stronger than ever—thanks in part to the lessons we’ve recently learned. This year, we’ve also seen a shift in party control at the White House and in Congress, and observed various changes in many state legislatures. Thus, our Government Relations column (p.24) reviews the legislative efforts that are top of mind for us now and encourages all members to help us educate legislators on those important issues. In the Technical Update column (p.28), we highlight text from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that promotes water consumption over sugar-sweetened beverages. If adhered to, that guidance can help all Americans, young and old, live healthier lives. In closing, I’m very excited to announce that IBWA will hold an in-person conference and trade show this year! Mark your calendars for November 8-11, when we will meet in San Antonio, Texas, for the 2021 IBWA Annual Business Conference and Trade Show. I am looking forward to seeing you all there! Be sure to read your weekly Splash e-newsletters for updates as they become available.



International Bottled Water Association BOTTLED WATER REPORTER is published for: International Bottled Water Association 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650 Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213 Fax: 703.683.4074

IBWA STAFF President Joe Doss Senior Vice President of Education, Science, and Technical Relations Robert R. Hirst Vice President of Communications Jill Culora Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin Director of Conventions, Trade Shows, and Meetings Michele Campbell Director of Government Relations J.P. Toner Director of Science and Research Al Lear Director of Communications Sabrina E. Hicks Manager of Member Services Cheryl Bass Communications Coordinator Chris Torres Education and Technical Programs Coordinator Linda Amar Executive Assistant Vacant Bottled Water Reporter Layout and Design Rose McLeod Tel: 315.447.4385 Editor Sabrina E. Hicks Advertising Sales Stephanie Schaefer

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Pennsylvania House Passes Bipartisan Bills That Would Streamline Bottled Water Regulation On April 6, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bills 754 and 755, two bills that would move all regulation of bottled water manufacturing in the state to the PA Department of Agriculture (PDA), and its food safety experts, from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). IBWA is a strong proponent of these bills because, currently, bottled water products bottled in half-gallon and larger sizes are regulated similar to public tap water systems by the DEP. However, bottled water products under a half-gallon in size are considered by the state to be food products and are cor6 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

rectly regulated by the PDA. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation to have this arbitrary line of delineation. This double oversight means that, in some instances, the same bottling facility may have two different agencies claiming jurisdiction over the same water that is simply being bottled in different sized containers. HB 754 and HB 755 passed with bipartisan support, 120-81. The bills now head to the Senate, where PA Senator Elder Vogel (R) will soon introduce both measures for discussion and debate. Senator Vogel is the chair of the Senate Agriculture

Committee, where it is expected that the Senate equivalent to HB 755 will be considered. In addition, Senator Gene Yaw (R), cosponsor of both Senate bills, is chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, where the Senate version HB 754 is expected to be considered. While these bills were in committee, IBWA worked with House legislators, their staff, and staff with PDA and DEP to help reconcile any differences. The bills were introduced through the state’s House Agriculture Committee and the House Environmental Resources and Energy

Committee, and, during committee review, several PA legislators spoke in favor of the bill. Lead sponsor Rep. Gary Day (R) outlined the need to reform the current regulatory scheme as it was not serving the interests of the bottled water industry or consumers, and Rep. Timothy O’Neal (R) referenced recent comments given by PDA Secretary Russell Reading regarding the agency’s jurisdiction over food safety and its partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to apply U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act regulations to food producers in the state. Lastly, Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) commented that a bottled water plant in his district had met or exceeded FDA guidelines for bottled water.

Double oversight of bottled water in Pennsylvania means that the same bottling facility may have two different agencies claiming jurisdiction over the same water. He noted that FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be as protective of the public health as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that govern tap water.


Sales Ban

IBWA Opposes Executive Order Issued By Virginia's Governor Banning Sale of Bottled Water

On the heels of signing legislation that would ban the use of polystyrene by food vendors by 2025, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) issued Executive Order 77 on March 23, which will prohibit, from July 21 on, state agencies and state institutions of higher education from buying, selling, or distribution single-use plastic water bottles, disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene food containers, and plastic straws and cutlery. The order also requests that state agencies develop a State Agency Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan by September 19 to eliminate the buying, selling, or distribution of all non-medical single-use plastic and expanded polystyrene objects (even those utilized for public health or public safety use). The plan would seek to eliminate those products over a period of time, eventually achieving a 100-percent reduction by December 31, 2025. The order does provide for agencies to classify any of those products as “for medical, public health, or public safety use,” which would allow state department and

educational institutions to exempt certain products from the requirements. However, the executive order's language is vague, so those institutions are provided little help in determining how to apply any such assessment. On April 13, IBWA submitted a letter to the governor's office explaining our concerns with the order and asking the Administration to reconsider its position. We also noted that, even though IBWA is headquartered in Virginia, the governor's office made no attempt to reach out to the association or any Virginia-based bottlers. Several states have addressed the issue of removing state funds for the purchase of bottled water, but few have taken this more drastic action of prohibiting the sale or distribution of the product. Several years ago, Vermont attempted to impose a similar restriction, but the state faced significant opposition from workers unions who expressed concerns about access to clean, potable water in certain state facilities. Read Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 77 here: VA_ExecOrder77.

IBWA Urges USTR to Extend Exclusions From Tariffs on Water Coolers Imported From China

On March 30, IBWA sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai, urging the Biden Administration to either extend the exclusion from tariffs on water coolers imported from China, which the bottled water industry had previously received, or reopen the process to petition for a new exclusion. These water cooler tariffs, should they be in place for the entirety of 2021, will cost the bottled water industry more than $42 million. That negative financial impact would be heaped on top of the financial burdens the industry has suffered due to the decline in deliveries of 3-, 4-, and 5-gallon coolers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its letter, IBWA argues that bottlers forced to pay these tariffs cannot afford to absorb the additional costs and would be forced to pass them on to customers. In addition, imposing these tariffs also does not adequately account for the role of today’s global supply chain and would likely lead to a shortage of products. To the best of IBWA’s knowledge, water coolers have not been produced in the United States for more than a decade. More than 85 percent of all water coolers are produced in China and quickly shifting production to another country is not feasible. IBWA will continue to update members on this issue. But if you have questions, or would like to review IBWA’s letter to USTR Tai, please contact IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin:

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 7



RECYCLE and RECOVER Acts Reintroduced in Congress

On March 23, U.S. House Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and David Joyce (R-OH), and Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), introduced the RECYCLE Act of 2021 (H.R. 2159 and S. 923). These bills would fund education and outreach programs meant to increase recycling rates and

share best practices across the country. Recycling education is critical to ensure that consumers are properly disposing of recyclable products. All other policy proposals, including meeting recycled content mandates or goals within an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program, are

contingent upon packaging being disposed of correctly and at high rates. In addition, House Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) reintroduced the RECOVER Act, a measure allocating $500 million in matching federal grants to eligible states, local municipalities, and

tribal governments to invest in improving their recycling infrastructure, programs, and education efforts. The bill also requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit a report to Congress no later than two years after the date of enactment of this legislation on measures taken towards implementation. Moreover, the legislation precludes the use of EPA funds for incineration. IBWA supports the RECYCLE Act and the RECOVER Act and is encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor and pass this legislation. You can follow the movement of these bills through Congress. For the RECYCLE Act, visit bit. ly/RecycleAct_HR2159, and movement on the RECOVER Act will be posted at RecoverAct_S923.


Two $4,000 Scholarships Available to College-Bound Children or Grandchildren of IBWA Member Company Employees The Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) is accepting applications for its 2021 Kristin Safran College Scholarship, which has been expanded to provide an award to two recipients. Each scholarship will be for a total of $4,000. Please ensure that all IBWA member company employees are made aware of this opportunity. The scholarship criteria include the following: • Must be the child or grandchild of an IBWA member employee. • Must be a high school senior (class of 2021) ranked in the top 20th percentile of their class. • Must plan to attend an accredited undergraduate two-year or four-year college/university. Please submit all application materials to IBWA Education and Technical Programs Coordinator Linda Amar (lamar@ no later than June 30, 2021. The application and further information can be found at SafranScholoarship21. DWRF plans to announce the winner in August 2021. DWRF created this scholarship to honor the memory of former IBWA Board of Directors member Kristin Safran.




IBWA Supports Legislation to Eliminate the Estate Tax IBWA, with 88 other organizations, sent letters to members of Congress who have introduced legislation (H.R. 1712 and S. 617) seeking to permanently repeal the estate tax. The tax, which has existed since 1916, applies to property and assets that are transferred after an individual or business owner dies if that amount exceeds the exemption. The exemption was temporarily increased to $11.7 million for the 2021 tax year and indexed for future increases for inflation through 2025 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017. But, without further changes to the underlying law, that temporary increase in the exemption amount will expire at the end of 2025. If no further action is taken, the exemption will go back to the 2018 amount of $5.6 million. Concerns with the estate tax include the detrimental financial impact it can have on families and small business owners who pass along their business to descendants.

Many small business assets are tied up in equipment, buildings, and land, and families often need to sell off some of those assets in order to cover estate tax costs. The current estate tax increases as the taxable amount increases. For example, if you are $1 to $10,000 over the current estate tax exemption amount of $11.7 million for 2021, you would have to pay an 18 percent estate tax on that amount. This increases to 20 percent for amounts between $10,001 and $20,000, and so forth, until flatlining once the amount over the exemption reaches $1 million and over. Overall, there are 12 different estate tax rates, each with corresponding taxable amounts over the 2021 exemption. IBWA members interested in reading the association's letter to Congress concerning H.R. 1712 and S. 617 can reach out to IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin:

Have You Renewed Your IBWA Membership?

All IBWA members have been mailed a 2021 membership renewal package and notified via email to renew their association memberships for the year. By renewing your membership, you will help ensure that IBWA continues to aggressively defend the bottled water industry against all negative proposals and proactively communicate the facts about your products to consumers, the media, government officials, and activist groups. If you have not received your company’s 2021 renewal packaged, please contact IBWA Manager of Member Services Cheryl Bass:

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STRATEGIC STAFFING How to hire and retain top candidates for route sales positions By Christine Umbrell

For bottled water companies looking to fill route sales positions at their home and office delivery (HOD) operations, recruiting candidates who understand what it means to work “bottled water hard” isn’t an easy task—and the strategies that work have changed. Traditional methods like posting on job boards as positions become available are outdated, says Luke Doubler, founder and president of RecruiterCentral, a Minneapolis-based company that specializes in finding the right candidates for hard-to-fill positions. Instead, bottled water companies should adopt a strategic recruiting mindset that spans across all phases of employment: recruitment, interviews, candidate selection, onboarding, and employee retention.

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 11

When discussing HOD sales positions with millennials and Gen Zers, let candidates know what your company can do for them. “This is a very exciting—and challenging—time in recruiting,” says Doubler. The tools are available to create and share your message to attract good-fit candidates, but, as Doubler advises, you must be willing to embrace new ways of thinking. Those companies that adjust their hiring practices to market open positions proactively, attract “passive” candidates (via social media), and hire individuals to act as brand ambassadors will experience increases in both sales and employee retention.

Embrace Manager-Centric Recruiting A strategic approach to hiring means bottled water companies should involve their leaders and managers in passive and active recruiting for HOD sales candidates, explains Doubler. “With manager-centric recruiting, someone who has ‘walked the path,’” or served in the position previously, “plays an active recruiting role,” he explains. That individual serves as a living, breathing example of an employee who not only succeeded in the position but also enjoyed the job and rose through the company ranks to earn a leadership role. To maximize the number of quality candidates you attract through manager-centric recruiting, Doubler suggests that companies include leaders of different races and backgrounds in the search process. “Have diverse leaders—men, women, people of color—to help draw from a diverse talent pool,” he says. (See sidebar “Promoting Employee Diversity” on p.14.) 12 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

For a manager-centric approach to be successful, companies should showcase strong, recognizable brands. In fact, 82 percent of job seekers consider employer brand and reputation before applying to a job, according to the 2021 Future of Recruiting Study, published in January by CareerArc, which notes that statistic represents a 7 percent increase over the past five years. Candidates may be attracted to your company if you treat HOD salespeople as company “ambassadors,” explains Doubler, and offer them opportunities to share their “brand.” Doubler also encourages bottled water companies to equate HOD salespeople to health educators embracing the benefits of bottled water. “Tell potential hires, ‘We are looking for people who want to make a difference because water is life.’” New hires who want to be a positive influence on their community will enjoy a role that asks them to discuss healthy hydration choices and environmental stewardship with their customers.

Explain What’s in It for Them Because many HOD sales candidates are in their 20s and early 30s, it’s important to remember that millennials and Gen Z often have different expectations when it comes to searches—so job postings should be tailored accordingly. “Baby boomers and Gen X love to tell you their skill sets,” explains Doubler, “but millennials often want you to tell them what you can do for them.”


To attract candidates who are willing to work “bottled water hard,” he suggests advertising the “total career and total rewards” associated with the position, including base salary and commission, bonuses, benefits, and training and career growth opportunities. “Be able to sell the package versus sell the job,” he says. Share the message that the HOD salesperson job “has all the nuances of running a business,” so employees will learn many of the skills they need to become business owners themselves one day, including sales, order fulfillment, customer service, inventory management, problem-solving, and more, suggests Doubler. Emphasizing those skills helps to differentiate the HOD job from other delivery positions (e.g., Amazon, FedEx, and UPS package drop-offs) and highlights the long-term benefits candidates may experience by working for a bottled water company.

Capitalize on Social Media While some companies send managers to job fairs to recruit candidates at high schools, community colleges, and universities, Doubler notes that social media has supplanted job fairs as a better way to find candidates. “With a career fair, you’re fishing in a very small pond,” he says, “but social media draws from a much larger

pool.” Sharing messaging about jobs via social media is much less expensive, and much quicker, than recruiting at job fairs. “With social media, you’re engaging passive, qualified candidates almost instantaneously.” In fact, social media recruiting has taken on new importance this year, according to the CareerArc study. More Americans stepped up their screen time during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, leading to more digitally savvy job searchers. Sixty-one percent of job seekers say they increased their social media usage in 2020, and 86 percent use social media in their job search and have viewed, searched for, applied to, and engaged with joband employment-related social media content and reached out to contacts and recruiters about jobs on social media, according to the study. When posting jobs on social media, create job descriptions that are short, compelling, and filled with key words and links to websites and videos, suggests Doubler. When choosing which social platforms to engage with, think about your target audience—the individuals who may be interested in and successful at HOD salespeople jobs— and consider where they spend their time online. “Put your message where they are; create a message that’s true

Social media has supplanted job fairs as a better way to find candidates.

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 13

Look for candidates who can interact with customers and promote company products. and accurate but that resonates with potential candidates, to create a funnel that brings the candidates to you,” Doubler says. That may mean looking beyond LinkedIn for optimal engagement. Doubler suggests Facebook as a recruiting tool, which has its own job platform and allows recruiters to search for potential candidates by position name, geographic location, and skills, then reach out with a Friend Request or via Messenger. The platform also allows employers to post job openings to its Jobs tab for a fee. Doubler believes there is potential to source qualified workers for free when you join Facebook Groups—mini job boards that people create and tag each other when they see available jobs. He also suggests that company recruiters create personal brands on Instagram, and include the hashtags #hiring,

#nowhiring, #joinourteam, #jobopening, or #recruiter, when appropriate. Links to videos can help drive interest on social media, adds Doubler. “Create fun, catchy videos of a bottled water truck pulling up to a school to deliver water to a class or of a philanthropic activity your company is involved in,” he suggests. For example, companies that sent water to Texas during the February power outages after Winter Storm Uri could share those activities within recruitment videos, which could attract younger candidates who are seeking positions at companies that embrace corporate social corporate responsibility.

Leverage Word-of-Mouth Recruiting Another way to find candidates is to implement employee referral programs and encourage HOD drivers to tout the great parts of their jobs as they go about their day. HOD salespeople should serve as a “walking, talking job description,” Doubler explains. He encourages bottled water companies to post testimonials or blog posts from current drivers explaining why they like their jobs. “Referrals have been our lifeline,” says Garett Worden, regional manager, Primo Water North America. When the company is looking for new HOD salespeople, Worden notes that they turn to current route salespeople who “know what it takes to do this job, and they’re good judges” of who will be a good fit.

Promoting Employee Diversity Twenty-six percent of job seekers say that diversity, equity, and inclusion messages published by employers would make them more likely to apply to that company, according to the 2021 Future of Recruiting Study, published in January by CareerArc. Sixty-three percent say they check social media for employee and consumer comments about workforce diversity, or lack thereof, at a company. While inclusive workplaces can be a draw for job seekers, “a lot of companies are struggling” with diversity and inclusion, says Luke Doubler, founder and president of search firm RecruiterCentral. “The best answer is to have a diverse slate of speakers involved in the recruiting process,” he says, “and in displaying your employment brand.” To attract more diverse prospects, “think about where a diverse pool of candidates” may be on social media, he suggests, then post jobs accordingly. Doubler also recommends setting aside preconceived notions of educational achievements during candidate selection. “There’s a misconception that everyone needs to have gone through school in X amount of time” to be qualified for certain positions, says Doubler. “Be open to considering life experiences, too,” in order to promote diversity and be more accepting of candidates who may have traveled different paths, he says. Doubler notes that having diverse employees has less to do with recruiting and more to do with retention. “If retention isn’t amazing for a diverse workforce,” he says, “look inward and look at your current retention rate for diverse individuals.”



“You need to be a good people person,” as a route salesperson, so it’s important to look for candidates who can interact with customers and promote the company’s products while making deliveries, says John Lock, West Division fleet manager, Primo Water. “Not everyone can carry 5 [gallons] of water” and safely navigate delivery trucks through neighborhood streets, says Lock. But while you can teach new employees “proper techniques for carrying bottled water and driving trucks, . . . it’s hard to teach them personality.” When encouraging potential candidates to apply, current employees can share their stories. Primo Water managers suggest highlighting aspects of the job that younger adults would enjoy. “This job lets you get outdoors, and it offers you freedom” because you’re in charge of your own route, says Worden. Millennial and Gen Z candidates tend to seek out work/ life balance, says Doubler, so companies should emphasize how the job accommodates that lifestyle—for example, by allowing employees to choose what time they start and end their days. “The best part of this job is the flexibility that comes with it,” says Jon Cleaver, a route salesperson at Primo Water and the 2020 IBWA Route Salesperson of the Year. Unlike other delivery jobs, being an HOD salesperson “is like being your own boss,” says Cleaver. He also appreciates working in a commissioned environment. HOD drivers are often empowered to add clients—and thus add to their income—as they’re making deliveries. Throughout the years, Primo has transitioned from offering only bottled water to selling other products, including iced tea, coffee and K cups, and more. “More products equals more tools in your toolbelt,” says Cleaver—and more commissions.

Revamp Your Interview Process Once you have identified potential employees and are ready to evaluate candidates, consider updating your interview process for 2021, says Doubler. Many companies are conducting first interviews in a virtual format, then bringing in qualified candidates for in-person interviews. “The in-person interview,” explains Doubler, “needs to encompass more than sitting in a stale room with a Q&A.” He suggests companies involve multiple staff members in the interview and, in addition to having candidates meet with cross-functional teams, send them on a ride-along with an HOD salesperson. “Get them out of the interview room—show them the facility, and introduce them to staff members,” says Doubler. Such interactions, in addition to

IBWA’s 2020 Route Salesperson of the Year


offering candidates a clearer picture of the details of the job, provide management a chance to assess candidates’ soft skills and ability to interact with people. However, during the actual “interview” time with a candidate, “allow a dialog to happen to understand motivations and skill sets,” Doubler suggests. (See sidebar “Start Your Interviews With These Questions” on p.16.) Cleaver notes that Primo Water leadership looks for several characteristics when determining which candidates will be a good fit. First, they look for candidates who are personable— individuals who can carry a conversation. “Can you talk about products to customers?” he asks, adding that personal connections make it easier for HOD salespeople to introduce new products and may result in more sales. Second, they look for individuals who are organized. Lock notes that Cleaver’s organizational skills contributed to his being recognized as IBWA’s Route Salesperson of the Year last year. “Jon is incredibly organized and meticulous, with a clean truck and workspace,” says Lock. Third, they look for prospects who can handle the “delivery” aspects of the job. “You don’t need to be a weightlifter” or the tallest guy in the building to succeed at this job, says Lock. “You just have to have great technique for delivery.” In fact, some route salespeople enjoy the physical aspects of the job, which can help keep employees in shape.

Train and Prioritize Retention Once you’ve evaluated the candidates and hired a new HOD salesperson, it’s important to invest time and resources in training that individual to position them for success. MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 15

Equip new employees with tools to serve as brand ambassadors and healthy hydration educators.

Start Your Interviews With These Questions Asking questions that help employers understand what motivates prospective employees is an essential part of the interview process, says Luke Doubler, founder and president of search firm RecruiterCentral. Doubler recommends asking the following three key questions during interviews: • Why are you here today? • What are your career goals?

Doubler suggests that bottled water companies offer an official training program, such as a “Water University,” to increase new employees’ knowledge about healthy hydration and company products to better prepare them for the tasks involved in being HOD salespeople. “Call it a leadership development class. Bring in guest speakers from inside and outside the company,” he says. Such a program could include a tour around the bottling facility; information on the research and development behind water extraction, production, and packaging; scientific presentations on the health benefits of bottled water; business-centric sessions on profits and losses; tips for improving customer service and add-on sales techniques; and more. “This would appeal to younger generations” and would help clarify the value proposition of an HOD salesperson job compared to an Amazon or FedEx driver, Doubler notes. In addition to proper training, new employees should be equipped with tools to serve as brand ambassadors, recommends Doubler. For example, give employees branded clothing, hand them business cards, offer them promotional materials about the health benefits of your products, and consider booking speaking opportunities for them in the community to articulate the value of bottled water. Companies that encourage employees to post blogs or testimonials about why they love their jobs can use this information to promote the company—while aiding new employees in becoming team players. To retain top-performing employees over the long term, Doubler suggests conducting regular employee engagement surveys to identify areas of the company in need of improvement. “Your employees will tell you [what they like and don’t like about the company] if you just listen” and don’t take offense to honest answers, he says. Doubler also recommends that the human resources team conduct exit interviews when employees leave. “Allow 16 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

• What do you know about us? By asking those questions, you’ll learn why a candidate is interested in a home and office delivery (HOD) salesperson position and what that individual hopes to accomplish in the job. In addition, you’ll discover whether they’ve done their homework about your company and the HOD business. “At this point, if they haven’t done any research, that’s a concern,” says Doubler. “You want employees to be a little proactive.”

employees to talk” during those interviews. The majority of exiting employees are very willing to share their reasons for leaving, and they are usually forthright during exit reviews. “Candidates rarely leave for monetary reasons alone,” says Doubler, so it’s helpful to learn if there are steps your company can take to improve its retention rate.

Maintain a Strategic Mindset Hiring new employees, while a challenge, is also an opportunity—a chance to welcome new team members who will help position the company for future success. “Remember that this role offers so much more than a logistics provider or retail job,” says Doubler. “You get to ‘own’ your route and your business. You get to educate and provide health solutions. “The job is so much more than selling water,” Doubler points out. “It’s bringing health” to workplaces and families in your community. BWR

Christine Umbrell is a freelance writer based in Herndon, Virginia. Email her at

COVID-19: ONE YEAR LATER How HOD bottlers have worked, learned, and grown By Chris Torres

The U.S. economic landscape looks much different now compared to a year ago when the country was reeling from the full impact of COVID-19. Businesses are starting to recover, and some social distancing regulations have been lifted now that vaccines are available for mass distribution. This slight return to “normal” has put a spotlight on just how much the pandemic has influenced how work gets done in America.

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 17



Before the pandemic, just 20 percent of the U.S. workforce teleworked, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, but 71 percent say they are currently working from home ( Results from Pew’s survey also show that many employees—up to 54 percent—who adhered to stay-at-home orders and worked from home say they want to continue teleworking when the pandemic is over. While the restructuring of the American workforce was necessary for public health, it also led to some interesting behavioral changes. For starters, the daily commute for many Americans now means taking a few steps to a home office, rather than driving 27 minutes to reach an office building, the national average commute ( Lunch and water breaks are in the kitchen, rather than the break room. And more people are

doing the weekly shop online—as some consumers don’t want to visit brickand-mortar grocery stores. Research shows that during the pandemic e-commerce has grown significantly. According to McKinsey Global Institute, a consulting firm that advises organizations on strategic management, e-commerce grew at two to five times the rate before the pandemic ( EcommerceCovidGrowth). Those new habits have impacted the home and office delivery (HOD) bottled water business in varying ways. In this article, we’ll look into the uptick in residential deliveries and review the ways COVID-19 has ushered in more demand for contactless delivery protocols and introduced new touchless technology.

Teleworkers Provide Unexpected Revenue “I think HOD is growing,” says Robert Smith, owner of the Virginia-based

People who may have normally purchased cases of water from their local grocery store may now prefer to remain at home and have everything safely delivered. The spread of COVID-19 has also caused many to focus on maintaining or establishing healthy habits, and drinking water is one simple step people can take to help make them feel better. Smith agrees: “It’s more of a healthy choice issue, and bottled water is what people are wanting to drink.” As bottled water is the nation’s No.1 packaged beverage (for more than five years), the industry’s products continue to be in high demand. Regional bottled water companies like Smith’s are not the only businesses experiencing growth in the residential market. ReadyRefresh beverage service, offered by BlueTriton Brands (formerly Nestlé Waters North America), has experienced record highs during the pandemic. “We were deemed an essential business by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and now, we’re perceived as essential by our customers,” says Henrik Jelert, executive vice president of ReadyRefresh. “While many offices closed temporarily, impacting our commercial business, we experienced record highs in our residential business throughout the past year as many consumers recognized the benefits of e-commerce and rapidly adopted direct-to-consumer services as an added convenience to their lifestyle.”


Another issue the home and office delivery (HOD) segment of the bottled water industry has been dealing with this year is the 25 percent tariffs now being imposed on imported bottled water coolers from China. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) excluded the bottled water industry from having to pay those tariffs, but that exclusion was not renewed for 2021. As a result, bottled water suppliers and/or bottlers have been paying the 25 percent tariffs since January 1. If the industry pays the tariffs the entire year, it will total $42 million in increased costs, according to an analysis by John Dunham and Associates. That, combined with other costs that have resulted from the pandemic, will certainly be detrimental to the HOD sector. On March 17, Katherine Tai was confirmed as the USTR, and IBWA has already reached out with the hope to soon begin working with her on reestablishing the tariff exclusion for the bottled water industry. Tai is expected to have a critical role in trade issues, including ongoing disputes with China. IBWA supported her nomination due to her years of experience on trade issues as chief counsel for the House Committee on Ways and Means, and previous role as chief counsel for China trade enforcement at the USTR. In particular, Tai’s experience dealing with Section 301 tariffs applied to many imported products from China is especially critical.

Recent numbers published by the data services firm Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) reflect the experiences of MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 19


Grand Springs Distribution, as he explains how his HOD business has picked up new residential customers since the pandemic began. He attributes increased home deliveries to one thing: safety concerns.

SMART TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS ENABLE WATER COOLERS TO SENSE IF A CUP OR GLASS IS NEAR THE SPIGOT AND AUTOMATICALLY DISPENSE WATER. Grand Springs and BlueTriton Brands. BMC notes that “[w]hile residential direct delivery grew, commercial direct delivery declined significantly due to pandemic-related job losses. The overall segment declined by 3.2 percent to dip below 1.4 billion gallons.” According to BMC, the HOD segment of the bottled water industry was the only segment to experience a volume decline in 2020; however, that decline was less than projected thanks to residential sales. HOD businesses may find that COVID-19 has a lasting impact on their residential sales—and a positive one at that. The pandemic accelerated consumer adoption of online grocery shopping and delivery. That forced behavioral change could bode well for HOD bottlers—if they’ve invested in e-commerce. According to Tinuiti, a digital marketing services firm, “Aided by the pandemic, more than 40 [percent] of Americans who ordered grocery delivery during the week ending in March 13th also tried it for the very first time in 2020. Even more interesting is that many consumers report they’d like to continue their behavior, post-pandemic.” In fact, 90 percent of these new e-commerce grocery shoppers expect to continue online shopping 20 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

with delivery—and only 7 percent say they will return to brick-and-mortar stores (

Safety First As home deliveries increased during the pandemic, HOD bottlers have had to revise their protocols to help ease potential anxiety about in-person interactions. Bottlers consider the health and safety of their employees a high priority. Requiring temperature checks and stocking endless supplies of masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer have become part of the adapted operating procedures. At Grand Springs, you’ll find sanitizing wipes everywhere—because they are used everywhere: in trucks, on hand trucks, and on bottles. Smith says it’s something that’s become customary across his company, and he can see it remaining if consumers continue to be anxious about a COVID-19 variant threat. Hand in hand with employee health is consumer safety. “We don’t go into anyone’s houses or anything like that anymore,” Smith says. When the pandemic began, he notes that Grand Springs decided to stop going into customers’ homes, easing angst for both customers and employees. “We try to distance ourselves as much as possible,”

Smith says, because he wants his route salespeople to provide customers with a sense of comfort and reliability during these uncertain times. Grand Springs’ current HOD process has customers leaving their empty bottles outside in a designated area (e.g., a porch or front step) to be picked up. The new bottles are left there, and consumers will take them into their homes. If a customer is unable to lift a 5-gallon bottle and place it on their water cooler, Grand Springs recommends that the customer switch to 3-gallon bottles. Steve Keim, general manager of the Massachusetts-based Berkshire Springs, also asks customers to leave their empties outside for pickup. He’s instituted the practice of contacting residential customers by email two days in advance of their delivery, a process he plans to keep after the pandemic. Those emails enable Berkshire Springs to limit face-to-face engagement between route salespeople and customers, while also providing an opportunity to remind customers to leave their empty bottles outside and attach a note if they’d like any other products delivered with their next order. Easing the burdens on customers is also top of mind for ReadyRefresh, as the company has implemented a strategy to increase delivery times and support hours. It also offers payment options and unique payment terms to help individuals that are experiencing financial issues during the pandemic, according to Jelert.

Touchless Technology The demand for contactless transactions extends to those made between humans and their appliances, like water coolers. New smart technology developments enable water coolers to sense if a cup or glass is near the spigot and automatically dispense water. Rej Tellier, vice president of sales at Oasis International,

While contactless water coolers are a novel idea, Tellier doesn’t anticipate them taking over the market: “Obviously, there’s a concern about touching things, but I don’t believe [contactless water coolers] are going to become mainstream." The reason why may come down to cost. The adoption of contactless dispense water coolers hasn’t happened as swiftly as predicted, Tellier explains, because end users are looking at it from a cost perspective. “When you look at the price gap between a traditional spigot dispense and a touchless dispense, there’s a significant gap there,” says Tellier. “From what we’ve seen in the marketplace and heard from some customers, because there are already so many other situations in an office environment where employees are having to touch things, going back to touching a water cooler isn’t necessarily too far out of normal.” Employees already have to touch doorknobs, handles, the office photocopier, the break-room microwave, and other commonly touched office items, so businesses may not think it’s worth the investment for a contactless water dispenser if

EUROPE’S HYGIENIC HYDRATION OPTIONS Photo credit: Borg and Overström

Another contactless water cooler that is already popular in Europe has an electronic foot pedal retrofitted to dispense water, so you don’t need to use your hands, says Tellier. “It’s being well-received there,” he explains, but it currently is not available in the United States. Moving forward, Tellier predicts that type of water cooler option may become market-specific, used more by industrial or manufacturing businesses where it’ll see frequent use. For traditional office businesses, water coolers with infrared-sensing technology may make more sense.


says his company is expected to offer that kind of technology soon.

In Europe, contactless water cooler technology is already at work. In the October/November 2020 issue of Refreshment magazine, the publication featured many new products in the market and noted how the pandemic has driven their development. Bottled water manufacturers are focusing on three touchless options: the use of foot pedals for hands-free dispensing, contactless hover buttons that dispense beverages simply by hovering a finger over the button, and the use of mobile apps to access and operate dispensers. According to Refreshment, COVID-19 has “accelerated” demand for hands-free water coolers, and the trend is expected to continue post-pandemic, although it’s difficult to tell currently how much more demand may increase. Borg and Overström, a U.K.-based company, has stated that it is looking into the idea of touchless options as the standard for all new water coolers, rather than just a retrofit option. Other water cooler manufacturers already have technology available such as Bluetoothenabled touch-free water coolers that are controlled from an app. As the full extent of the pandemic on future behaviors is yet to be known, Refreshment notes that all manufacturers are waiting to see how much of the societal shift toward touchless technology will remain.

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 21

optimism, nevertheless. “I think people are optimistic about the economy and the containment of COVID,” he says. Research shows that as confidence in the available vaccines increases, so too do the number of Americans who say they will get the vaccine.

TO HELP IBWA MEMBERS RECEIVE THEIR VACCINES, IBWA CREATED A ONE-PAGE DOCUMENT THAT BOTTLED WATER EMPLOYEES CAN USE TO VALIDATE THEIR COVID-19 VACCINATION REQUEST. they’re not buying similar technology for other office products. (For more information on touchless water cooler technology, see sidebar on p.21.)

Vaccine Options Are Good for Business America’s workforce may feel more at ease about returning to the office now that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers can lawfully require employees to take a COVID-19 vaccine or show proof that they have taken one ( Employers can also offer employees incentives for taking the vaccine, such 22 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

as bonuses or discounts on health insurance premiums. But there is still hesitancy among the public, as the SHRM survey reports that 40 percent of U.S. employees will “probably not or definitely not” take a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Of those individuals, 70 percent said they would not get vaccinated even if their employer required it. Last February, Smith surveyed employees at Grand Springs, inquiring about their level of interest in getting a vaccine when they became available. Only half said at the time that they were willing to get it, but he points out that there was a definitive sense of

Workers in the bottled water industry, along with others in the food industry, were defined early in the pandemic by DHS as critical to infrastructure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance suggests that states offer COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals working in the food and agricultural sector starting in Phase 1b distribution. To help IBWA members receive their vaccines, IBWA created a onepage document that bottled water employees can use to validate their COVID-19 vaccination request. That document can be found on IBWA’s COVID-19 webpage, along with other informative resources, including how to develop a vaccine strategy, a COVID-19 vaccination communication guide, and more:

HOD in a Post-Pandemic World Bottled water companies are beginning to wonder what the post-pandemic workforce will look like and what that could mean for their businesses. Tellier offers an interesting option based on conversations he’s heard: office spaces redesigned to offer multiple small break rooms rather than one large one. For example, if an office building’s current layout has one large break room located on a single floor, the idea would be to add three or four smaller break rooms on different floors to decrease room occupancy. That, suggests Tellier, could be good for the bottled water industry because

SHRM research indicates that 27 percent of organizations have planned to bring all employees back to their worksite when COVID-19 vaccines became more widely available ( SHRMback2work). That study also notes that 34 percent of organizations are unsure when they will bring all employees back, 18 percent do not plan to have all employees return, and only 5 percent of respondents said that a return-to-work date had already been set. Employees feel strongly about continuing to work from home, as the Convention.pdf



survey found that 52 percent of U.S. workers, if given the option, would choose to never return to their worksite and instead telework permanently. Regardless of when workers return to the office, HOD businesses have been preparing to succeed in either scenario. “I think we’ll be stronger than ever,” Smith says. “Overall, we’ve gained some customers, and I think that they’re loyal customers that will stay with us. I really believe that bottled water being the No.1 packaged beverage choice helps. I think more and more people are choosing bottled water every day.” BWR

Chris Torres is IBWA’s Communications Coordinator. Contact him at

1:38 PM

Imagine C










July 28 – 30, 2021 l Education July 28 – 29 l Expo July 29 – 30

Las Vegas Convention Center l Las Vegas, NV USA l

verb (used with object), im•ag•ined, im•ag•in•ing. to form mental images of things not yet real to suppose; think to envision quality water for everyone

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 23


it introduces the opportunity for more products to be sold. But, there are still a lot of unknowns concerning commercial business; for example, how many people will actually return to the office and how frequently will they be there during the week?

Focus on Bottled Water Issues Expected to Intensify By Cory Martin, IBWA Vice President of Government Relations

IBWA has been very busy working on key legislative and regulatory issues thus far in 2021, and the pace of our advocacy work won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Transitioning to a Democrat-controlled White House and Congress, and the various party changes in state legislatures across the country, has led to policy changes that impact many industries, including bottled water. IBWA is currently engaged in a number of federal activities, including those detailed below. We encourage members to read up on the issues we anticipate garnering more attention from legislators, 24 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

so that you can assist in future advocacy efforts when called upon.

Tariffs on Water Coolers In 2018, the Trump Administration announced a number of tariffs on products imported from China. But, the former Administration excluded the bottled water industry from having to pay 25 percent tariffs of water coolers in 2019 and 2020. Unfortunately, the opportunity to reapply for a 2021 exclusion was not offered in 2020, so water cooler suppliers must now pay

25 percent tariffs at the U.S. port of entry for 2021. Those tariffs will impose an additional $42 million in costs on the industry if they have to be paid for the entire year. In response to that threat, IBWA formed a working group to focus efforts on educating members of Congress, explaining how bottlers cannot afford to absorb the additional costs and, ultimately, they would be forced to pass them on to customers. In addition, the tariffs do not adequately account for the role of today’s global supply chain and

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS would likely lead to a shortage of products. IBWA has also urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to extend exclusions on water coolers or reopen the petition for exclusion process. As of this writing, those efforts are still ongoing, and we are hopeful that the Biden Administration will provide these exclusions as have been provided in the past.

Changes to ENERGY STAR Specifications on Water Coolers On April 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its new ENERGY STAR 3.0 specifications for water coolers, which become effective on March 1, 2022. IBWA has been working with EPA since early 2020, and the agency’s final draft included the following suggestions from IBWA: •

Changing the previous gallons per hour threshold to measure high- and low-capacity coolers from 0.61 gallons per hour (GPH) to 0.50 GPH. Clarifying that low-capacity coolers are those at 0.50 gallons per hour or less.

EPA recognized that industry stakeholders wanted to revise its proposed cold and hot water capacity of 0.61 GPH to 0.50 GPH. After conducting more research, including a review of the California Energy Commission’s appliance efficiency database, EPA concluded that the previous capacity of 0.61 GPH would not be met by a large number of products and adopted IBWA’s suggested change. The final draft continues to support the energy use specification of 0.80 kWh/Day for high-capacity coolers, suggested by IBWA. The original draft specification was 0.70 kWh/Day, which IBWA did not believe considered market dynamics and consumer preferences.

EPR Bill in Congress Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have introduced bills

that would impose extended producer responsibility (EPR) requirements on bottlers and other consumer goods manufacturers. The federal proposal includes a national bottle deposit program, as well as recycled content use mandates. Specific to the bottled water industry, the proposed federal EPR program mandates that bottlers cover the costs of waste management and clean-up of all beverages produced in plastic, glass, metal, and multi-packaging material. Bottlers must also join a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) that is tasked with collecting and cleaning up products after disposal or recycling. Bottlers and other producers within the PRO would be responsible for all costs associated with the PRO and its program. Leading this PRO will be several groups representing a range of interests, including EPA; the state, city, or locality where the PRO will be operating; public and private sector recycling and solid waste industries; environmental organizations; and others, with all activities of the PRO funded by the consumer goods companies (including bottlers) that sell product within the PRO’s geographic boundaries. IBWA continues to work to educate members of Congress on the industry’s leadership of environmental and sustainability issues. Also, as of this writing, IBWA is finalizing a framework the association can use to engage on EPR issues at any level—federal, state, and local. That framework will enable IBWA to provide necessary feedback to legislators and help ensure that industry concerns are addressed as proposals move forward.

PFAS Limits The bottled water industry is always mindful of emerging contaminants and has been proactive concerning PFAS since 2019. We’ve taken steps outside of government mandates to address any of our concerns. As IBWA members know, bottlers belonging to this association must comply with industry

HELP IBWA EDUCATE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ABOUT BOTTLED WATER ISSUES. Standards of Quality (SOQ) limiting PFAS in bottled water to no more than 5 parts per trillion (ppt) for one PFAS compound and no more than 10 ppt for two or more PFAS compounds. IBWA also encouraged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a federal SOQ for bottled water to avoid a patchwork of state standards that would make compliance difficult. In 2021, IBWA has been engaging with the Senate to encourage FDA to impose an SOQ for PFAS in bottled water. At press time, IBWA is working with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to lead a letter that other senators can sign and send to FDA asking for its engagement on this issue. Other federal issues IBWA has engaged in thus far in 2021 include supporting legislation that would allow those with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive interstate if they are 18 to 20 years of age, a bill removing the estate tax, bills granting funds to states to improve recycling infrastructure and education, and more. For IBWA, it’s an honor to serve on the front lines of advocacy, representing the bottled water industry before members of Congress and state legislators. We are excited to continue representing our members with federal officials and look forward to what is ahead in 2021. BWR

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The Secrets of Award-Winning Route Salespeople By Sabrina E. Hicks, IBWA Director of Communications

Since 1963, IBWA has held an awards program to recognize the accomplishments of bottled water companies and professionals, and I've been involved for many years, playing an active role in the management of that program. The Route Salesperson of the Year category is by far one of the most popular categories, as it acknowledges the important role route sales representatives play on the front lines of customer service for the home and office delivery (HOD) segment of the industry. During award ceremonies, the emcee often describes route salespeople as “the face of the 26 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

bottled water industry”—and it's true! Our route salespeople visit with customers every day, and consumers develop opinions about our industry based on their interactions with them. For that reason, it’s imperative that these hardworking employees understand how influential they are. In managing the awards program, my responsibilities have included collating all the nomination forms for the Route Salesperson of the Year and preparing them for the judges. Because the panel of judges blindly reviews the submissions, I had to remove any text that

could identify a company or its brands. So, let’s just say, I’ve read a lot of nomination forms over the years. By now, I can predict what nominee is most likely to win the title Route Salesperson of the Year based on the information presented in his or her form. Below, I share with you the discerning characteristics of award-winning route salespeople.

Own Your Route More than any other quality, the act of treating a route as if it is your own small business seems to define a Route Salesperson of the Year. That guidance


holds true regardless of whether you work for a large or small bottler. When you “own the route,” you understand that you are accountable for every aspect of that business: income, costs, inventory, marketing, truck/uniform upkeep, customer satisfaction, and well-being of your employees (i.e., you). It’s a hefty responsibility. That’s why an HOD driver is vastly different from an Amazon or FedEx driver who drops off packages on doorsteps; you’re a brand ambassador for your bottled water company. A successful route salesperson takes care of the details. You make sure your truck is in good shape so that it can carry you safely to all the stops on your route (and if the truck’s not running well, you bring it to the attention of the fleet manager). You keep a clean and neat appearance because you want customers to see that you are a professional. You’re knowledgeable not only about the products you have on the truck and any current company promotions but also about why bottled water is the best packaged beverage for healthy hydration. Educating consumers isn’t always an easy task. Due to the abundance of misinformation on the internet, many consumers may hold opinions about our products or the environmental impact of our industry that simply aren’t true. Providing them bottled water facts in a gracious, nonconfrontational manner is a skill.

Talk to Strangers Because a lot of people—especially young people—use technology and social media to communicate, this next guidance is more important than you might think: Talk to strangers. A successful route salesperson must be able to look up from their phones and hold a face-to-face conversation with current and potential customers. Route sales-

ROUTE SALESPEOPLE ARE THE FACE OF THE BOTTLED WATER INDUSTRY. people are provided a delivery schedule for current customers, but most bottlers state that it is up to the employee to grow that route. The best way for an HOD rep to gain new customers and increase sales (and your income) is through friendly conversations with strangers along their routes. People who have held the title of Route Salesperson of the Year often mention that, when they make a delivery, they don’t simply place product in the appropriate reception area (e.g., office break room or house porch), they also interact with their customers. Making small talk is not an innate skill; you have to practice at it. IBWA once had an educational session on how to transition from a good driver to a good salesperson, and the presenter had this advice: Just ask. To build rapport with your customers, start by asking them a simple question. It sounds easy, but many people struggle with finding ways to start conversations. Once you have a few go-to icebreakers (e.g., “Do you prefer sparkling or still water?” or “Have you ever heard about [insert product name]?”), you’ll quickly find opportunities to extend the conversation—and, in doing so, you’ll learn more about your customers and their hydration and office needs.

Be Respectful There’s a thin line between extending a productive conversation and wasting the customers’—and your—time. A winning route rep is respectful of customers and aware that their lives are busy and stressful. HOD reps can show their respect in a thousand little

ways, for example driving courteously through streets and neighborhoods, being polite, apologizing if you are late making a delivery, and following dropoff instructions (e.g., leaving bottles in a specified area if the customer makes a special request).

Lead With a Team Mentality From my review of award nomination forms, I can offer one more suggestion on how to become a successful route salesperson: Lead from within. Past award winners unanimously have earned the respect of their peers and supervisors. Jon Cleaver, from Primo Water North America, IBWA’s current Route Salesperson of the Year, was described as “a tremendous team player” who leads by example, setting “extremely high standards and challenging himself to improve daily.” In addition, Jon treats his route like his own small business, and, when he finds that his experience can help one of his peers be more successful, he is quick to share that knowledge with the team. Jon knows that when the team does well, the company does well—and that benefits everyone. As we head into the busy summer months for the bottled water industry, I encourage plant managers to stop and recognize the important work our route salespeople do every day. It takes a very special person to work “bottled water hard” in the HOD business. The growth of this segment of the industry rests, literally, on their shoulders. BWR

MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 27

Latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans Continues to Recognize the Important Role of Water in a Healthy Diet By Al Lear, IBWA Director of Science and Research

In late December 2020, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) published the 164-page 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) ( Revised every five years, the DGA provides science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages—“from birth through older adulthood.” This edition expands the guidance, for the first time including recommended healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers. The current DGA continues to build on the previous editions and was informed by the scientific report developed by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 28 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

(DGAC), along with input from federal agencies and comments from the public, including IBWA.

How DGA Is Revised The DGA revision process included five public meetings that began in March 2019. In previous oral and written comments to the DGAC, IBWA, working with its Healthy Hydration Task Force (HHTF), highlighted water’s importance to overall health, reasons why water should be introduced to children between 6 and 12 months old, and proper hydration for adults 65 and older. IBWA also noted that 48 countries promote water consumption in their nutrition guidance graphics;

however, water is surprisingly absent from the MyPlate, the nutritional guidance graphic that depicts DGA recommendations and is used by U.S. public schools, doctors’ offices, and communities to educate the public about healthy nutrition. In February 2020, IBWA members Danone Waters of America and Nestlé Waters North America (now BlueTriton Brands), along with IBWA staff, met with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps and Senior Policy Advisor Lindsay Datlow to discuss continued inclusion of water in the DGA. IBWA shared with them a December 2019 letter from 69 members of Congress to the USDA

TECHNICAL UPDATE and HHS encouraging both agencies to add a water symbol to the MyPlate nutritional graphic. With the July 2020 release of the DGAC’s Scientific Report (bit. ly/2020DGACreport), IBWA again provided oral and written comments urging USDA and HHS to take the following actions: • Recognize the importance of plain water consumption as part of a healthy dietary pattern. • Include plain water (in addition to dairy) in the MyPlate nutritional graphic and other related documents and materials. • Encourage plain water as a healthier beverage choice for consumers to drink and to replace sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce added sugar.


Recommendations The 2020-2025 DGA presents four overarching guidelines: • Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage. • Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations. • Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits. • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages. The importance of water in a healthy diet has several mentions throughout this edition of the DGA: • In Chapter 1, “Nutrition and Health across the Lifespan” (p.35), water continues to be recognized for its importance in a healthy diet: “When choosing beverages in a healthy dietary pattern, both the calories and nutrients that they provide are important considerations. Beverages that are calorie-free—especially water—or that contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat

milk and 100% juice, should be the primary beverages consumed.” In Chapter 2, “Birth through 23 Months” (p.61), the role of water for infants and toddlers is discussed: “For healthy infants with adequate intake of human milk or infant formula, supplemental water is typically not needed in the first 6 months. Small amounts (up to 4 to 8 ounces per day) of plain, fluoridated drinking water can be given to infants with the introduction of complementary foods. Plain, fluoridated drinking water intake can slowly be increased after age 1 to meet hydration and fluoride needs.” In Chapter 3, “Children and Adolescents” (p.87), and Chapter 4, “Adults Ages 19-59” (p.103), the DGA report discusses choosing water to reduce the intake of added sugars: ­­­− “Decreasing consumption of sugarsweetened beverages to reduce added sugars intake will help youth achieve a healthy dietary pattern. Beverages that contain no added sugars should be the primary choice for children and adolescents. These include water and unsweetened fat-free or low-fat milk—including low-lactose or lactose-free options or fortified soy beverage—and 100% juice within recommended amounts.” ­­­− “Most adults’ diets include choices across multiple food groups that are not in nutrientdense forms and therefore cannot accommodate excess calories from sweetened beverages. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages should

be limited to small amounts and most often replaced with beverage options that contain no added sugars, such as water.” • In Chapter 6, “Older Adults” (p.129), the role of water for proper hydration of adults ages 60 and older is highlighted: “Many older adults do not drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. One reason for this is that the sensation of thirst tends to decline with age. Concerns about bladder control or issues with mobility also may hinder intake of fluids among older adults. Mean intakes of beverages show adults ages 60 and older consume significantly fewer fluid ounces across all beverage types compared to adults ages 59 and under—about 2 fewer cups per day, most of which is due to drinking less water. It is important that older adults drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and aid in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.” Several other water recommendations can be found throughout the MyPlate Life-Stage webpages for Toddlers, Kids, Teens, Adults, and Older Adults: www.

Looking Ahead Although the release of the DGA did not include an update to the MyPlate nutrition graphic, IBWA continues to advocate for adding water, alongside the current dairy symbol, to this important educational tool. IBWA will also advocate for water as a topic in the next edition of the DGA, scheduled to be published in 2025. Visit for more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. BWR MAY/JUN 2021 • BWR • 29



certified plant operators (CPOs) are encouraged to complete the following quiz for ½ IBWA continuing education unit (CEU). The questions are derived from material presented in this issue of the Bottled Water Reporter, the IBWA Plant Technical Reference Manual, and the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice. Submit this quiz to Linda Amar ( / Fax: 703.683.4074), IBWA Education and Technical Program Coordinator, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22134. Look for additional quizzes in future issues and earn additional IBWA CEUs!

Name______________________________________________________ Company__________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________ City_______________________________________________________ State/Province______________________________________________

ZIP/Postal Code____________________________________________

Check your selection for each question


Water has a focused importance on those in the age groups of _____.


Children between 6 and 12 months old Adolescents (12 – 19 years old) Adults 65 years and older Children between 6 and 12 months old and adults 65 years and older


FDA’s vision of the responsibilities of a PCQI includes preparation of the _____.


HACCP Plan Health and Safety Plan Food Safety Plan Operations SOP


Which of the following is NOT a natural water?


Drinking Water with Minerals Added Spring Water Artesian Well Water Mineral Water


Water meeting the definition of the 23rd Revision of the USP is called _____.


Purified Water Mineral Water Sterile Water Purified Water and Sterile Water


According to the DGAC, beverages that contain _____ should be the primary choice for children and adolescents.


Vitamin C No added sugars Protein Water



_____The revised FDA CGMPs for food are included in the new 21 CFR 117. Bottled water CGMPs remain in _____.


21 CFR 165 40 CFR 141 40 CFR 136 21 CFR 129


Many older adults do not drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. One reason for this is that the sensation of thirst tends to decline with age.

O True O False


Work experience does not qualify one to be a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual.

O True O False


The revised My Plate nutrition graphic still does not include water next to dairy beverages.

O True O False


According to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, water intended for bottling shall not be stored, transported, processed, or bottled through equipment or lines used for milk, other dairy products, nonbeverage foods, or any non-food product.

O True O False



8-10 • JUNE IBWA Board of Directors

Analytical Technology. . . . . . . Inside Back Cover

and Committee Meetings Video Conference

12-14 • SEPTEMBER CBWA Convention

Blackhawk Molding Co. . . . . Inside Front Cover

and Trade Show (PCQI Class: September 14-16) Paso Robles, CA

21-23 • OCTOBER NEBWA Fall Convention

IBWA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5

Mystic Hilton Mystic, CT

8-11 • NOVEMBER IBWA Annual Business

Polymer Solutions Int'l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Conference and Trade Show Hyatt Regency Riverwalk San Antonio, TX

Sigma Home Products Co., Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

CALENDAR 2022 12-15 • MAY NWBWA Convention

Steelhead Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Outside Back Cover

and Trade Show Embassy Suites Hotel PDX Airport Portland, OR

Support your industry while getting ahead of the competition!

Place an ad in IBWA's Bottled Water Reporter magazine.




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Also Inside:

IBWA Honors Industry Professionals How to Be a Recycling Influencer


W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G


cramp sick bladder hydrate


rehydrate cold

Who Will You Nominate for a 2020 IBWA Award? IBWA Bottlers Earn "Excellence in Manufacturing" Designation

dehydrates perspiring

Also Inside:


migraines fatigued irritated

Ask Us About Retargeting Campaign Opportunities on WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG!



How the bottled water industry is a leader in environmental sustainability






quenches hydrated urge groggy HEALTHY HYDRATION AND THE PSYCHOLOGY heavy energy OF DESIRE hydrates




IN THIS ISSUE Tips for Building a Tackling Recycling IBWA Revises the Strong Grassroots Issues Through Bottled Water Code Program Partnerships of Practice


fainting hungry



parched sweaty



muscle exertion cramps sluggish breath dizzy saliva boredom bloating dryness sweating coughing







The Evolution of Advocacy




IN THIS ISSUE The rPET and Why Increase rHDPE Supply Access to Issue Recycling

exhausted sorehead

Why We Need a Federal PFAS Standard

W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G


IN THIS ISSUE IBWA Establishes Correcting a Coast-to-Coast Misinformation Advocacy Network With Bottled Water Facts

RECYCLED CONTENT REALITY CHECK Do your legislators know the facts?

Also Inside:

Focus on Plastic Waste (Not Plastics) Recycling Social Media Posts You Can Use Today A PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION

IBWA’s award-winning, bimonthly magazine, Bottled Water Reporter, is the only trade magazine in the United States that exclusively targets the bottled water industry. IBWA has proudly been offering digital editions of its magazine online since 2009. Issues are mailed directly to IBWA members and nonmember subscribers six times a year. Bonus distribution offered during in-person IBWA Annual Business Conference and Trade Shows. IBWA members can review past issues by logging on at and then selecting Member Dashboard under the Membership tab. Click the "Bottled Water Reporter" button for access to the archive. Contact Stephanie: 817.719.6197 /


20% 71%



In 2020, the U.S. tele-workforce grew from 20% to 71%, and 54% of teleworkers say they want to continue working from home, according to Pew Research Center.


While 27% of organizations plan to bring employees back to the office, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 34% are still unsure and 18% do not plan to have all employees return.

1.4 BILLION GALLONS Beverage Marketing Corporation’s preliminary 2020 numbers show that, although COVID-19's impact on the home and office delivery (HOD) segment meant sales dipped a little (3.2%), the decline was less than projected— thanks to increased residential HOD sales.


of Americans age 16+ notice wrapped vehicle advertising.


Online spending increased 35% during the pandemic, and consumers are expected to continue many digital behaviors (e.g., paying for home delivery) after COVID-19 subsides. Companies with robust e-commerce should benefit.


have looked at mobile advertising messages.

Sources: Pew Research Center (, SHRM (, Beverage Marketing Corporation, McKinsey Global Institute ( 32 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

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