The Poland Spring bottling plant in Poland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal 2018 file photo

Nestle is considering dumping Poland Spring and the rest of its North American water business, the company’s board of directors announced Thursday.

The company said in a statement that it wants to focus on its international brands and its premium mineral water brands. Its regional spring water brands, which includes Poland Spring and is run by Nestle Waters North America unit based in Stamford, Connecticut, is not part of that new scope.

Poland Spring draws from 10 water sources in the state, largely in western Maine. It employs about 860 people and has bottling plants in Poland, Hollis and Kingfield, according to a 2019 Sun Journal article.

An internal review by the company to consider the sale of its North America unit is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Possible buyers, according to Bloomberg news, are Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.

According to Bloomberg, the company’s bottled-water business suffered its worst year in at least a decade in 2019. Discount brands have taken away market share and growth was nearly stagnant at 0.2 % in 2019, according to Reuters. Still, Nestle enjoys a 20% market share in North America with sales of $3.61 billion.

Another worrisome trend for Nestle is that consumers have also become more resistant to plastic packaging.

To combat that, Nestle has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025.

“The creation of a more focused business enables us to more aggressively pursue emerging consumer trends, such as functional water, while doubling down on our sustainability agenda,” Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement. “This strategy offers the best opportunity for long-term profitable growth in the category, while appealing to environmentally and health-conscious consumers. Nestlé is one of the pioneers in the global water business and remains committed to healthy hydration. We are working tirelessly to ensure that consumers can enjoy our beverages in an environmentally responsible way.”

Nestle, a Swiss multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland, is the largest food and beverage company in the world.


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