Bottled Water Sales Down for the First Time in Five Years
Bottled water sales were down in 2009 compared to the previous year. This is a big win for the Ban the Bottle Movement and a message to bottled water companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Add it all up and you get bottled water sales that dropped in 2009 for the first time in five years. Yes, folks, bottled water is becoming the new cigarette.
We can trace this change of attitude to the Australian town of Bundanoon, a hamlet of about 2,500 south of Sydney. It seems the citizens there became angry a few years back when, according to published accounts, a beverage company announced plans to build a water extraction plant in town.
Residents faced the prospect of an outsider taking their water, sending it off to the big city for processing and then selling it back to them. The town became so incensed it voted to ban the end product.
About the same time, according to anti-bottle activists, “one of the dumbest moves in advertising history” occurred when high-end brand Fiji started a campaign intended to tout its water which is imported from the tropics.
The advertising copy read: “The label says Fiji because it’s not bottled in Cleveland.”
Well, the people of Cleveland, the victims of many slings and arrows over the years, did not take kindly to the campaign. So Cleveland Public Utilities director Julius Ciaccia had the local water tested against the bottled stuff. Fiji water had 6.31 micrograms of arsenic per liter; the city tap had zero. The company disputed the findings, but change was in the air.
The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Salt Lake City have asked employees not to use bottled water or banned city spending on it. Chicago added a 5-cent tax to each bottle.
Bottled water sales are drying up [via Pasadena Star-News]