Is There A Real Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Bottled Water?

Bottled water has become a major part of our lives. According to 2019 study by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), bottled water ranked as the largest beverage category by volume in the United States, with about 44 gallons of bottled water consumed per capita. 

Walk into any grocery store and you will find an entire aisle devoted to bottled water. Though they all have the ability to quench your thirst, many of them taste differently. Some, like Zephyr Hills spring water, have naturally occurring minerals that can enhance taste, while others like Dasani, add natural flavorings like lemon and lime. 

Bottled water can cost as little as a few cents to several dollars for imported waters. But, is there really a difference between that bottled water you get at the big box store for a few dollars per case and the designer water that can cost a few dollars for little more than a sip?

Why are bottled waters priced differently?

Reader's Digest notes that one factor that can drive up the cost of your water is the packaging. The next time you are at the store, check out if the fancy bottles actually do cost more when you comparison shop. Another factor is marketing and transporting the water to your neighborhood — one reason why imported waters can cost more than domestic ones. How water is processed and filtered also changes the price. Reader's Digest notes premium brands like Ever & Ever come from renewable sources, and go through purification processes. 

On the other hand, a 2018 report by Ecowatch found that 64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal water supplies, meaning that the bottled water you are buying is basically the same as you would get from the tap. Thus, Americans often unknowingly pay for water that would otherwise be free or nearly free. So, the next time you pick up some bottled water, read the label. It should say where the water was sourced (from a natural spring or a municipal water supply) and if minerals or flavors have been added. Then, decide for yourself.