Demand for bottled water is growing about 10 percent annually, faster than other beverage categories. Not surprisingly, the billions of dollars in water sales have inspired lots of new businesses. It is estimated that there are 500 to 600 domestic bottled waters and 200 to 300 imported brands.

Consumers have become increasingly curious about the source of bottled waters, scrutinizing the product category more closely than soft drinks, juices and teas. The most common consumer question is, “Is spring water really from a spring?” and “Does anyone regulate what bottlers put on labels?” Bottled water is “one of the most regulated food products,” answering to local health departments and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Most regulation was established in the mid-1990s as bottled waters became popular.

Spring WaterMust come from a spring (underground orifice in the earth from which water flows naturally). Cannot claim to be “spring” water if water has been substantially altered or comes from a municipal source.

Note: Richard’s Private Label Natural Spring Water is bottled from a state certified spring in North Carolina and is 2nd lowest in total dissolved solids by brand.

Glacial WaterMust original from glacial source
Artesian WaterFlows from a natural source above earth’s water table.
Purified WaterWater that has been substantially altered to remove impurities. Most common treatments include reverse osmosis, de-ionization and activated-carbon filtration.
Mineral WaterContains various minerals and trace elements. Mineralization changes slightly over time and varies in content from brand to brand.
Distilled WaterPurest water available. Distillation removes more contaminants than any other method.

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