A team of researchers from Lovely Professional University has designed an innovative and cost-effective water bottleneck cap assembly that will prevent tampering with both used and unused water and cold drink bottles. The novel bottle cap designed by the researchers works with minimum torque and can be easily identified after the bottle is opened. As a part of the new design, after a bottle is opened for the first time, the gap between its cap and the neck ring widens ensuring they cannot be stuck together seamlessly using adhesives, as is being done presently by miscreants.

Tampering with liquids, especially water is a major health concern today. While packaged water brands take utmost care to deliver hygienic water to consumers, in many cases, miscreants refill empty bottles and sell them as branded drinks. This not only leads to health challenges for the consumers but also ends up eroding consumer trust in the packaged water brand. The new packaging technique developed by LPU researchers can help counter this challenge effectively. The team has developed a prototype of the innovation and also bagged a patent from the Indian Patent office.

According to the report ‘Bottled water market in India’, the market for bottled water is expected to reach INR 403.06 Bn by the end of 2023, from its value of INR 160 Bn in 2019, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.75% from 2018. Based on volume, the market is likely to reach ~35.53 Bn litres by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of ~18.25% from 2018 to 2023. Increasing health concerns and unavailability of clean drinking water have led to the growth of the bottled water market in India. The major bottled water brands operating in India are Bisleri, Kinley, and Aquafina. As per the report, in India, bottled water is sold in four main types of SKUs – one-litre bottles, two-litre bottles, 500 millilitre bottles, 250 millilitre bottles, pouches, and barrels of 15-20 litres. Among the different SKUs, one-litre bottles have acquired the largest market share of 42% in 2018, followed by 500 millilitre bottles and 250 millilitre bottles.

The research team included Dr Lovi Raj Gupta, Executive Dean of Science and Technology, Lovely Professional University,  Dr Tanay Pramanik, Prashant Kumar and Rakesh Kamal.

Dr Lovi Raj Gupta, Executive Dean of Science and Technology said, “Water bottle tampering is a common issue that has plagued the mineral water and carbonated drinks industry for long. Not only does it affect consumers monetarily, but it also puts their life at risk. At the same time, packaged bottling companies lose millions due to such malpractices every year. We are confident that our solution can pull the plug on such practices and lead to safe ‘outside home’ water consumption.”