I love it, I love it, I love it. I work in the food industry and for years one of my pet peeves has been the conspicuously ‘sophisticated’ tastes of some of my clientèle. You know who I’m talking about; the gourmand who would ask if the beef was prime (at what I was charging? c’mon), the aesthete that would send the trout back to have the head removed, the bar denizen who would call for Absolut in his Bloody Mary (who can tell, with all the Worcestershire, Tabasco and horseradish?).
But the ones who really got my goat were the bottled water drinkers. Convinced that tap water was going to kill us all (too many chemicals, likely tainted, or even recycled urine) they would lament the fact that I did not carry their brand of designer water. After giving in to market demands (I’m not a complete fool, there is some nice profit to be had off of this never ending fad) I would daily receive complaints that I was not carrying a specific brand. But who could keep up? In the nineties there was a new boutique water coming out every week. (Some went better with quiche than others did.)
Eventually the big beverage boys decided to get in on the act and Pepsi and Coke both came out with their own brands of bottled water. Why not? They could charge much more than their soft drink product. The water market was so upscale that the typical consumer wouldn’t even touch the cheaper brands. Gads! Not only that, it was cheaper to produce because it was essentially cola without the stuff that made it cola – carbonation, sugar, flavorings, preservatives and dyes. Still, many of these companies did find a way to sneak a fair amount of chemicals into this ‘pure’ beverage.
Bottled water has become such a status symbol that no self respecting business, professional organization, civic group or lobby would dare hold a meeting without a cooler full of bottles chilled and waiting for the program to begin. Ah, the poor old board room water pitcher. Where are you now?
It is de rigeur to provide bottled water at charity marathons and bike-a-thons and the Gatorade coolers are now filled with….Gatorade. The upwardly mobile athletes at these events typically vote Democrat, are health conscious and would choke at the idea of consuming the more dangerous variety of water that springs forth from the walls of every home in America. Something they have in common with the old John Birch Society, I guess. If only they knew.
According to an article in ‘American Demographics’:
Indeed, some 86 percent of Americans harbor concerns about the quality of their tap water, while 32 percent think their water is not as safe as it should be, according to a survey of 1,021 adults released in April by the Water Quality Association (WQA), a group representing makers and sellers of home water treatment systems. The concern rate goes up to 90 percent among Americans with kids under 12. According to a 1999 report by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF), 91 percent of Americans cook with tap water, but only 75 percent actually drink it. Meanwhile, 65 percent take steps to drink purer water, either using filtration or distillation methods or by drinking bottled water. (Hmm, maybe)
Women constitute the majority of bottled water drinkers: 45 percent of 18- to 34-year-old women and 44.6 percent of 35- to 54-year-old women drink bottled water, according to BMC/MediaLink research, compared with just 35.3 percent and 34.5 percent of their same-age male counterparts. As one might expect, bottled water use climbs with income, says Gary Hemphill, senior vice president at BMC. Use also spikes at the younger end of the core group. Some 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think their water is as safe as it should be, according to the WQA survey, and 41.4 percent of the group drink bottled water regularly, reports BMC.
I guess that it would be safe to say that the typical bottled water afficianado is fairly young, educated, fit, financially successful and concerned about their health as well as the environment. After all it is the well informed and sophisticated that are the first to identify and address those threats that many choose to ignore; pesticides, global warming, second hand smoke, the ozone layer, high fat diets, overpopulation, carcinogens in meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, bouillabaisse, high tension wires….and good old tap water.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc. will spell out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water, a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070726/hl_nm/pepsico_aquafina_dc_1
You probably aren’t surprised that I am more than a little amused. Finally it is being revealed that the Emperor has no clothes. Under extreme pressure, Pepsi Cola is agreeing to post it’s water source on it’s packaging. And guess what that source is – the faucet. That’s right, both Pepsi’s Aquafina (nice Italian name) and Coke’s Dasani (even nicer- could be Italian, could be North African but whatever- it’s someplace hip) use the same dang water that most of use to wash our dishes (and our toes) in- Adam’s Ale. It’s even the same water that goes FLUSH! for most of us at least a couple times a day. The very same water I use to keep my petunias and my Fescue fresh and colorful as well as my sidewalk clear of grass clippings.
I might be going out on a limb here, but I bet that if you check the ‘fridge of just about any overly worried environmentalist that you will find a bottle or two of designer agua. Then check out the lackadaisical Joe Shmoe’s ice box and you’ll probably see a couple a liters of Dr. Pepper and a partial six pack of Bud. And it turns out that Joe might be the better steward!
And according to the article even those companies that claim to use spring water are only shipping water in from regions that are known to have reputations for ‘good’ tasting water.
Thank God! Now I can stop buying Perrier for my cats.