When you think of food or drink industries, fast food and soda are some of the first things that come to mind. Yet many people underestimate the wealth and scale of some of the different bottled water brands.
In recent years, the bottled water industry has earned more than $16 billion each year, surpassing the profits made by carbonated soft drinks. Yet despite statistics such as these, many people don’t know much about the bottled water industry.
Keep reading to learn a little bit about the bottled water market and how it works.
What’s the Appeal?
Interestingly, most of the people who buy bottled water are people who have access to free water sources. So why spend the money?
Most fans of bottled water explain that it is healthier, purer, and has a better taste. The first two reasons are a bit misleading, and the third not be the case depending on who the person is. Still, it’s hard to resist the appeal of a cold bottle of water when you’re thirsty.
Bottled water companies know this, and use terms that sound appealing. But what do these different terms mean?
Understand the Bottled Water Lingo
While companies might cite mountaintop glaciers and crisp, winding rivers as their bottled water sources, the FDA requires companies to be specific. Here are some of the different types of bottled water and their origins.
- Purified water comes from an underground source or a municipal supply (the tap). Companies then further clean and treat it.
- Spring water originates from an underground source that then flows to the surface. Companies then collect it there.
- Mineral water is a form of spring water that has additional levels of solids in it. These solids are minerals, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium, and are natural (the companies don’t add them in).
How the Water Treatment Process Works
To make purified water, companies use a five-step process. Here are the different steps:
- Filtration: Companies send the water through tiny particles that filter out germs and other microbes
- Distillation: Companies vaporize the water, leaving behind demineralized water
- Reverse Osmosis: The water passes through membranes that block contaminants
- Ozonation: Ozone gas kills any microorganisms and filters them out
- UV-Light Treatment: UV-light kills or sterilizes any remaining bacteria or viruses
Of course, one of the biggest criticisms of the bottled water industry is that it creates plastic byproducts that aren’t environmentally-friendly. The water filling line can produce a huge number of bottles each day, many of which end up in the trash.
However, for regions that don’t have access to clean water, bottled water can be their saving grace. People need to drink, and despite being a product of a business, bottled water fulfills that need.
Be an Informed Consumer: Understand the Bottled Water Market
While water is a natural resource and a necessity for life, the bottled water market is huge, and companies make enormous profits by operating in it. Next time you buy a bottle of water, be an informed consumer, and think about some of the information mentioned in this guide.
Do you have a better understanding of how bottling water works? If you do, take a moment to check out some of our other blog posts for more helpful guides and tips.