Why Absurdly Priced Bottled Waters Are Having a Moment
Despite evidence that it's all a big, fat marketing con, the industry is flourishing
The best bottled water in the world, according to judges at this year’s International Berkeley Springs Water Tasting competition, is one blended with “the sound frequencies of love, the moon, and light spectrums of the rainbow.” No joke.
It offers all that for a humble $2.30 a liter, The Guardian reported — a far cry from bottled water brands at the higher end of the spectrum, like Svalbarði, which goes for $90 because it’s “freshly squeezed from … melting Norwegian glaciers.”
Despite the fact that bottled water is, for the most part, a marketing con of epic proportion, the industry is flourishing. And so-called “premium waters” — like those that claim to be alkaline-infused and/or able to offer health benefits not found in regular water — are its fastest growing sector, with a valuation of $18.5 billion, according to The Guardian. This includes Kona Deep, which claims to be mined from 3,000 feet below Hawaii’s surface, and Acqua di Cristallo, the “world’s most expensive water bottle,” which comes from springs in Fiji and is sprinkled with gold dust.
Without getting into the more nefarious consequences of these absurdly priced waters (Did you know that some experts predict there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050?), there’s the fact that, in a blind taste test, most people couldn’t even tell the difference between “premium” and tap, The Guardian reported.
So why are people still willing to buy these bottles? To cheat death.
“Death reminders reliably increase humans’ selfish exploitation of natural resources,” researcher Sarah Wolfe recently wrote in a study on “water consumption choices.” Humans instinctively deny our own demise, she explains, which causes us to make “irrational decisions and think things like, ‘How could the planet be dying when I hold in my hand a bottle of such unfathomably pristine water? How could I be dying when I’m making such healthy decisions?’”
In other words, the search for the Fountain of Youth continues.
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