The untold truth of Dasani water

Dasani Water is a brand of bottled purified water that is ubiquitous in vending machines, grocery stores, and drug stores across the United States. This Coca-Cola product launched in 1999 after the success of Pepsi's bottled water brand Aquafina (via Beverage Online). 

Dasani is made by using the reverse osmosis filtration technique and is enhanced with the addition of minerals for taste. Since 2009, Dasani has been bottled and distributed in the PlantBottle, a recyclable plastic bottle which is comprised of up to 30 percent of plant-based materials (via Fast Company). The use of these bottles helped to reduce carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, but looking forward, Coca-Cola has packaging plans that will remove over a billion plastic bottles from the supply chain over the coming five years (via Coca-Cola). These include plans for a HybridBottle which raises the ante and is made up of 50 percent plant-based materials. 

Coca-Cola will also introduce recyclable aluminum cans and bottles in select markets. The brand was ranked as the second best selling bottled water in the world, with sales figures still trailing Aquafina. In the United States, however, the brand is the No. 1 best-selling water brand.

Why Dasani failed in the United Kingdom

Though Dasani is commonplace in the American marketplace, it flopped completely in the U.K. Because the British perception was that bottled water ought to be mineral water from a natural spring (even though Coca-Cola never advertised the product as such) and because a popular BBC comedy from the 1980s ridiculed the fancy mineral water industry by having a character sell bottles full of tap water, the brand was not well-received (via YouTube). 

Though the initial launch was pretty smooth, just three weeks after the brand hit the streets, in March 2004, all of Britain's major newspapers reported that Dasani was just water from the tap, which did not go over well. A prescient British journalist had even warned readers that "some consumers may be put off by the water's lack of provenance." 

This, coupled with tests showing that Dasani water contained above the legal limit of bromide, which is a cancer-causing chemical, led to a recall of the product and the eventual withdrawal of the brand from stores in the United Kingdom. According to a Guardian report from the same year as the scandal, Coke lost 25 million pounds as a result of the demise of Dasani in the UK, although it noted that "the damage to the firm's reputation is 20 times that figure" (via Business Insider).