Some cool Healthy Drinking Water images:
Coca-Cola’s Talking Waters
Image by elycefeliz
While in the produce section, I noticed these bottles of water in the "Natural Foods" section of Kroger. What caught my eye were the product names: TAKE US home tonight; CARRY me home; HELP US help you; LIFT US into your cart . . .
Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Fruitwater and Vitamin Energy are all owned by Coca-Cola, which purchased Glaceau, the maker of Vitaminwater, in 2007 for .1 billion dollars (that’s quite a growing market for sugar water) in order to “upgrade its portfolio of noncarbonated beverages.”
I began to read the contents and had quite an eye-opening moment. Vitaminwater had “natural” ingredients like “processed crystalline fructose,” “natural” caffeine and a lot of other things I didn’t understand like deionized and/or reverse-osmosis water.
And as I did the math, I realized there were 125 calories in one of those sexy bottles, along with 32.5 grams of sugar …”natural” of course. Hmm … that’s almost what a can of Coca-Cola has.
As it turns out, the need for Coke to “upgrade” its portfolio of noncarbonated beverages was motivated in part because of two things that were happening in the market place. First, there has been a drop-off in sales of carbonated drinks like Coke and Pepsi as people aimed to get healthier. According to a Beverage Digest report that came out in March, U.S. carbonated soft drink volume fell for the fourth straight year in 2008. Coca-Cola’s soft drink volume declined 3.1 percent.
And furthermore, sales of bottled water — for Coke it is Dasani, the second-largest bottled water sold in the U.S. (PepsiCo has Aquafina, which has the largest market share) — were also dropping. A key reason: The national campaign by groups like Food and Water Watch and Corporate Accountability International to get people to switch from bottled water, which is an environmental hazard, to tap water, which is often healthier, was working.
The massive advertising effort to scare people into thinking that their tap water wasn’t healthy has been effective, fabricating the need for bottled water. The result is a huge toll on the environment. Americans use more than 50 billion disposable plastic water bottles a year.
The fact that a substantial part of the bottled-water market is shipped from thousands of miles away also creates a huge carbon footprint (think Fuji, and Pellegrino from Italy). San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago and New York state decided to forbid their governments from spending public money to purchase bottled water. So, instead of continued growth, the bottled-water market started going south.
But Coca-Cola wasn’t about to leave all those customers to drink tap water — no profit there. With tens of millions of dollars invested in celebratory marketing, including the rapper 50 Cent, and with a message consumers wanted to hear — they were going to get healthier drinking the stuff — Coca-Cola launched a very savvy marketing effort to create a mass audience for Vitaminwater.
A key goal was to move two groups — ex-Coca-Cola addicts and reformed bottled-water drinkers — over to the hyped Vitaminwater. But the reality is they were packaging empty calories and caffeine into a slick new bottle that gives the illusion of health.
Class-Action Suit Against Vitaminwater
In January 2009 the Coca-Cola Co. was served notice of a class-action lawsuit filed over what the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) says are deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on its Vitaminwater line of beverages.
“Vitaminwater is more likely to increase a regular consumer’s chances of being obese or developing diabetes,” says the CSPI.
The CSPI states that Coke markets Vitaminwater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzzwords as “defense”, “rescue,” “energy” and “endurance.” It also says the company makes a wide range of dramatic claims, including that its line of drinks variously reduce the risk of chronic disease, eye disease, promote healthy joints and support optimal immune function.
CSPI Litigation Director Steve Gardner said, “Coke fears, probably correctly, that they’ll sell less soda as Americans become increasingly concerned with obesity, diabetes and other conditions linked to diets too high in sugar. Vitaminwater is Coke’s attempt to dress up soda in a physician’s white coat. Underneath, its still sugar water, albeit sugar water that costs about 10 bucks a gallon.”
The CSPI also states that Vitaminwater contains 0 to 1 percent juice, yet the names of the flavors include “Endurance Peach Mango,” “Focus Kiwi Strawberry” and “XXX Blueberry Pomegranate Acai,” when in fact, these flavors contain none of these juices.