PepsiCo relabels bottled water

Tap source revealed following consumer watchdog pressure

PepsiCo has revealed the true source of its Aquafina bottled water--a tap. Corporate Accountability Intl. (CAI) disclosed that the beverage giant will relabel the brand as coming from a "public water source" to address customer concerns over product contents.

Other bottled water manufacturers may soon follow stride, and the cost of relabeling their products may coincide with a drop in sales. Consumption of bottled water has benefited in recent years from increased consumer demands for more natural noncarbonated beverage products.

PepsiCo said its decision will help ensure that there is no confusion regarding the origins of its bottled water. "If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it's a reasonable thing to do," said Pepsi-Cola North America spokeswoman Michelle Naughton in a CNN interview Friday.

CIA welcomed the move, having previously claimed that Aquafina's current labeling might mislead consumers. According to CAI, the bottled water label, which features a snow-capped mountain and the phrase 'pure water, perfect taste,' implies that the water comes from a natural source before treatment.

The watchdog group also added that PepsiCo is setting a positive example and maintaining consumer confidence by revealing its water source. "Concerns about the bottled water industry and increasing corporate control of water are growing across the country," said a CAI statement. "It is significant that Pepsi is taking some action, especially since Aquafina is the leading bottled water brand in the U.S."

PepsiCo is not alone in the practice of using a tap source for its bottled water, said CAI. According to the group about 40% of all bottled water brands are sourced as such.

Another prominent industry organization, however, said that PepsiCo's labeling actions are unnecessary. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) said that under Food and Drg Administration (FDA) regulations, public water systems like taps have long been approved as a product source. As such, IBWA upholds its claim that water sourcing should not be an issue as long as products comply with quality and safety regulations.

Bottled water consumption has greatly increased over the past decade, but this news regarding sourcing could come as a blow. The bottled water industry is already experiencing some backlash in U.S. restaurants over concerns that product packaging may be contributing significantly to climate change.


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