Would you drink a bottled water sourced from an Amazon Rainforest aquifer?
December 21, 2005 7:00 AM   Subscribe

BottledWaterFi: For the same price and quality as regular brands would you buy a bottled water sourced from the Amazon Rainforest? And would it influence your purchase decision if the bottled water company (US) also conserved Amazon rainforest and biodiversity?

Pardon me if this sounds like a market survey but I am thinking about joining a start-up firm that proposes to do this and wanted to get some perspectives on whether it could be a runner or not.

Addl info: the water has particularly good taste, purity and hydration qualities.
posted by johoney to Food & Drink (27 answers total)
I wouldn't buy it due to the amount of fossil fuels invested in hauling it all the way from South America to where I am.

If I were in Rio or Sao Paulo, it'd be a different story.

My preference is tap water, but I will buy bottled water if I'm trapped somewhere (like an airport).
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:07 AM on December 21, 2005

I would, however I fail to see why the bottled water coming from the Amazon is important.

You say that it has the same quality as regular brands but then you seem to hint at it's better?

The conservation alone would make me go for it. You might want to check out some of the history of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, to see how the whole social causes thing works out?
posted by mge at 7:08 AM on December 21, 2005

Funny idea - as it is, except for the region's very low demographic density, the water from the Amazon Basin rivers doesn't differ from any clean river's water. I guess then that the water origin is just a marketing point. But I'd think it is a good marketing point. Added to the conservation bit it stands a good chance of making some noise in the right circles both in Europe and the US.

And what do you mean by "hydration quality"?
posted by nkyad at 7:12 AM on December 21, 2005

Generally I think choosing one brand of water over another is silly, so I buy my water based on the bottle. Can it fit in my cupholder, etc?

I think I would tend to avoid any water from the Amazon rain forest simply because, no matter how pure, I would associate it with water from the Amazon river, which I would assume to be filled with things that would make me shit liquid for the rest of my life. I know that's stupid, but I think that's how a consumer's mind often works.
posted by bondcliff at 7:14 AM on December 21, 2005

It sounds like a market survey because it is a market survey. This doesn't belong here.
posted by TonyRobots at 7:17 AM on December 21, 2005

The fact that the water happens to come from the rainforest sounds like a marketing gimmick (but no more so than water that claims to come from a glacier or something).

I've actually collected and drank water from mountain streams, glaciers, and rainforests. I prefer tap water at home and would be mildly offended by water claiming to be from some pristine rainforest.

Anyway, the truth is rainforest water has in it mud, rocks, animal waste matter, parasites, and all sorts of chemicals unknown to science from the rotting remains of rainforest plants.

It might just be water, but you're still exploiting resources for commercial benefit. I'd rather businesses stay out of the world's pristine wild areas entirely.
posted by driveler at 7:21 AM on December 21, 2005

I don't like the idea that people would suck the water out of the jungles rainforests and ship it all the way to North America or wherever it is they're planning to send it. H2O is H2O, and all the waste involved in extracting, bottling, transporting, storing, and selling bottled H2O snatched from South America is not good for the environment, not good for the Amazon or the Antarctic or anywhere else.

Everyone ought to get their water from the tap. If you don't think it's good enough to drink, first find out whether you're imagining things. Is the public water company actually selling undrinkable water or are you just into buying boutique products? And if the local water is actually, quantifiably bad, get it fixed, don't waste your money (and everyone's resources) on little overpriced, environmentally damaging bottles of someone else's water.

I mean: no.
posted by pracowity at 7:23 AM on December 21, 2005

Ever notice how mineral water is usually marketed with images of alpine mountains and pristine streams? There is a reason for that. Do you think people want to buy bottled water that comes from a huge muddy river filled with electric eels and decomposing tapir copses? The river they saw on the TV documentary filled with all the garbage of Manaus with the humongous ferry boats plying its waters?

posted by zaelic at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2005

Yes, people would buy such water when presented correctly.

Check Penn and Teller's Bullshit, episode 7, season 1. They do a (admittedly very limited) study to prove that people will pay to drink water from a hose if it is given a special sounding name and is placed in PET bottles. I do believe one of the names was supposed to remind the buyers of the Amazon Rainforest, and it did quite well.

And, hey, if you can still stomach doing this after watching that show, more power to you! Capitalism at its finest!
posted by shepd at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2005

the water has particularly good taste, purity and hydration qualities

um... would you care to back these claims up?
posted by altolinguistic at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2005

I buy Fiji water not b/c it's from Fiji but b/c of the cool picture inside the bottle...
posted by matimer at 7:51 AM on December 21, 2005

Marketing survey.
posted by Hildago at 8:03 AM on December 21, 2005

I buy bottled water, mainly because I live in DC and yes, pracowity, the public water company actually is selling undrinkable water (it's got lead, lot's and lots of lead).

Would I buy this, no, first because I would imagine it would cost an arm and a leg partly due to ridiculous mark up and partly due to the expense of hauling these coals to Newcastle. Next, I would not buy it because it would cause more harm to the environment to put the water in individual, disposable, plastic bottles and ship them thousands of miles to market.

I am not typical of American consumers though, apparently, as Fiji, Volvic (vulvic), Evian, etc. seem to do well and American consumers are just dumb enough to swallow the "rainforest" bait.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:18 AM on December 21, 2005

My gut reaction is that taking water out would hurt the Amazon and turn off the very customers you're aiming at.
posted by smackfu at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2005

The worst stomach infection I ever got was from drinking water that was literally springing out of a a rock high in the mountains. So nature sucks, and I drink tap water.
To answer your little survey, no I wouldn't buy it because a) I find paying for boutique water dumb and b) the whole ecology-as-marketing-gimmick makes me sick to my stomach.
posted by signal at 9:12 AM on December 21, 2005

Is this really a marketing survey? Shame.

I admit though, Fiji water does have good taste. And swanky packaging.
posted by zpousman at 9:20 AM on December 21, 2005

smackfu : "taking water out would hurt the Amazon"

If you are talking about the industrial process side-effects maybe, but there are ecologically correct ways to manage such projects. If you are talking about the water itself, forget it - the Amazon Basin as a whole has so much water (the Amazon river is actually the river with the largest water volume in the world) that you could probably irrigate the Sahara without great damage to the local conditions (/gross exaggeration, btw, but you get my point).
posted by nkyad at 9:23 AM on December 21, 2005

Shipping costs will keep going higher as oil prices rise, so it may eventually be impossible to compete with locally bottled waters.

This business plan sounds evil for several reasons. If you are being asked to invest money in this I'd stay away.
posted by D.C. at 9:47 AM on December 21, 2005

Just a thought: I don't know how much influence you have on the said company business plan, but wouldn't it make more sense to go for a local water source, sell it with a suggestive tropical name and market the company aggressively as a huge investor in Amazon rainforest and biodiversity preservation projects?
posted by nkyad at 10:04 AM on December 21, 2005

"hydration qualities"? What the flying f*ck is that supposed to mean? It's water, not magical juice. For the love of god.

This "fancy water" business is just a giant scam. Would I buy some gimmicky expensive water? Heck no. Is that what you wanted to hear?
posted by Rhomboid at 11:27 AM on December 21, 2005

No, I wouldn't buy it. The supply-chain costs (financial & environmental), make it unlikely that this is really an ecologically beneficial venture.

It's got my "greenwashing" sense tingling, anyway.
posted by Crosius at 11:49 AM on December 21, 2005

Rhomboid : "'hydration qualities'? What the flying f*ck is that supposed to mean? It's water, not magical juice. For the love of god."

I think that, since it is water, it will hydrate your body if you drink it. It means it has "a synergistic approach to the human body osmotic process". hehe.
posted by nkyad at 11:49 AM on December 21, 2005

Save your soul; keep the heck away from this.
posted by Opposite George at 1:31 PM on December 21, 2005

The fact that these guys are talking about "hydration properties" as if it's some sort of science (it isn't; it's bullshit) would scare me off.
posted by blag at 1:48 PM on December 21, 2005

The Amazon Basin is currently experiencing what is possibly the worst drought ever. And no river can have large volumes of water extracted with minimal impact to the freshwater and streamside forest ecosystems. I agree with those who say that I would not buy this water because of all the wasted fossil fuels, but I also think that you need to do some research about current conditions in the region.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2005

hydropsyche : "The Amazon Basin is currently experiencing what is possibly the worst drought ever."

Just to complement this, the drought seem to be gone already (the rain started falling again). This may or may not be linked to global warming issues, but so far all indications point to an isolated meteorological accident.

The fossil fuel consumption of such a project, on the other hand, is quite a valid concern.
posted by nkyad at 8:57 PM on December 21, 2005

Does it cure cancer?
posted by Caviar at 9:34 PM on December 21, 2005

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