Published on Thursday, March 4, 2004 by Reuters
Coca - Cola Admits That Dasani is Nothing But Tap Water
by Trevor Datson

LONDON - It made for great headlines, but the fact that the UK version of Coca-Cola's Dasani brand bottled water comes out of the London public supply should hardly have come as a surprise.


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"Coke's in hot water," "Eau dear" and "The real sting" were three good examples of the newspaper headline writer's art, but the only real difference between Dasani and many other bottled waters is that the humble origin of the product is firmly in the spotlight.

Figures from independent beverage research company Canadean show that at least two out of every five bottles of water sold around the world are, like Dasani, "purified" waters, rather than "source" waters which originate from a spring.

Most of the supermarket own-label bottled waters consist of treated mains water. They may be dechlorinated, filtered further, purified using ultraviolet light and have minerals either added or subtracted. They may also be carbonated.

In short, they are subjected to many of the same treatments that source waters undergo to satisfy public health requirements after being pumped up from the ground.

Alongside flagship brands such as Evian, Perrier, and Malvern, most of the big-name water producers market several purified water lines, often in countries where the safety of the public water supply is a concern.

Nestle's Pure Life is one such leading brand and PepsiCo's Aquafina is another, while Danone's Sparkletts and Alhambra marques are top sellers in the United States, where mains water purity is not usually an issue.

You also have mixed source waters, like Nestle's Aquarel, which comes from seven different springs. Such spring water is cheaper to produce and therefore to sell, and has proved a big hit with consumers in Europe and elsewhere.

But generally speaking, anything that doesn't say "source" or "spring" on the label is just fancy tap water.