26 Jun 2008

Bottled Water in Canada

This survey is typical in one way but interesting in another:
In general, wealthier, higher-income households were more likely to get their H20 from bottles. While less than a quarter of households taking in $40,000 a year or less used water bottles in the home, a third of households in the $91,000 and up bracket had turned away from the tap.


Of all the education types, households with a member with a university degree were the least likely bottled-water drinkers, with three out of four using tap water as the preference. This contrast to the higher income bracket was "very interesting," said Rothwell.
Bottom Line: Bottled water customers are rich enough to afford it (and dumb enough to choose it). Hmmm...

Hattip to JW.


  1. Can't help myself here with a snark (and will go cold turkey after this one, I swear!),
    "Damn, government is the problem here. If government would get out of the way and let the market and private enterprise handle this issue, bla, bla, bla."
    Again, I apologize and will direct similarly snide responses to my cat in the future.

  2. Where can I go to make free money by being able to distinguish my preferred bottled water from that delicious city-provided tap water?

    I mean, since there's no difference, right?

    (FWIW, while I prefer the taste, I still don't typically drink bottled water since I can just drink the tap water quickly enough and at low enough temperature not to make it too bothersome.)

  3. Silas,

    Did you see the experiment where people preferred wine in the "expensive" bottle to wine in the "cheap" bottle -- when it was the same wine? Bottled water may taste "better" but we are fooling ourselves to a degree. (btw, I think the same thing can be done with organic food...)

  4. Taste difference btwn tap and bottled water can also be from old pipes in old buildings. In some buildings I need to run the water for almost a minute to get rid of the bad taste (also gets rid of the lead!), but then it tastes great.

  5. david_zetland: I absolutely agree that wines are basically all the same (although in my case I think they're even more the same because i've never gotten a taste for alcoholic beverages, and genuinely don't taste the differences others refer to). So I get a real kick out of people having their supposed "refined wine/beer palettes" shown to be imaginary.

    Nevertheless, I don't think it's fair to claim the same equivalence for tap water. For example, I've done an experiment where I freeze tap water as ice, then dump it in the sink and let it melt overnight. It always leaves a smelly white/green residue behind.

    Furthermore, there may very well be a lot of people who just don't notice the difference between the waters, and citing experiments on them can be misleading. But the water experimentees are typically those going along with the crowd, rather than people who specifically claim precise water distinction abilities.

  6. I've drunk some pretty foul tapwater (just finished a bottle) that is surely not as good tasting as filtered or bottled water. OTOH, the water is, in fact, safe to drink. We need to keep up the distinction between safe and good tasting...

    In the big picture, I'm happy if people *try* their tap water. I've seen people in Aspen, SF and NYC drink bottled water when they have some of the best tap water in the world...


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