CONSUMERS MIS-TRUST THEIR DRINKING WATER IS THE MESSAGE
For the first time ever, sales of bottled water exceeded soda in 2016. According to the New York Times, that means that Americans drank almost 12 billion gallons of bottled water last year, or more than 36 gallons per person.
And they paid dearly for the hydration. Studies show that bottled water costs around 2,000 times more than drinking water from the tap. Why are Americans spending so much money on a product that’s already delivered to their doorstep, and is no cleaner than the bottled?
Whether bubbly, flat, flavored, filtered, or electrolyte-enhanced, bottled water is a thriving market fueled by both extensive marketing campaigns and water safety concerns.
However, what they are not being told is that the bottled water is no cleaner than their tap water. You see, the term “clean water” is a nebulous term used extensively without any clear definition. Cases of lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, Washington, DC, and New Jersey have boosted water sales by raising concern about the quality of tap water and focusing the nation’s attention on its decaying pipes. However, everyone is turning a blind eye, or have their head in the sand when it comes to the overwhelming amount of chemicals that are in the water (both bottled and tap) that cannot be removed.
In fact, consumer surveys show that many citizens don’t feel that they have a choice besides purchasing bottled water. Consumers often believe that bottled water is free of microorganisms, even though research indicates that the process of bottling water and storing it on market shelves can actually facilitate microbial growth and does not remove Pharmaceuticals-OTC Medications-Vitamins. The message in the bottle is one of mistrust just another marketing gimmick.
Journalists have voiced the detriments of bottled water, including the extensive environmental costs, in an array of news stories. Making plastic water bottles results in carbon emissions and uses about 17 million barrels of oil annually according to Ecology.com. One interactive article by Tatiana Schlossberg (formatted as a quiz) about plastic water bottle usage is especially effective in revealing staggering statistics about our plastic habit and its effects on the planet.
Globally, people spend around $100 billion a year on bottled water. Americans account for well over half of that. It’s time for water professionals to look at what the popularity of bottled water is telling us. The public is being misled by advertising using the words “clean water” “clear water” “bottled water” without them even knowing what the definition is or used by the distributors of bottled water.