Friday, August 13, 2010

Vitaminwater is neither vitamins nor...water? Discuss.

[Photo: Vincent Ducrey, Flickr]

My normal beat is plastic. But since I'm trying to convince Ellen DeGeneres to dump her bottled water advertising contracts, that means addressing the many other problems with the product-- like what is inside that single use plastic bottle.

I just posted this on vitaminwater zero's Facebook page:

Please help me out with this. Where does vitaminwater zero get its water? From glacéau's website:

"all water used in glacéau products comes from approved drinking water sources, and it already meets stringent epa regulations. we take it to an even higher level of purity via vapor distillation for smartwater and reverse osmosis for vitaminwater10. we then add back in electrolytes, natural flavors, colors found in fruits and vegetables, natural sweeteners and nutrients to vitaminwater and vitaminwater10"

I assume glacéau has not updated the page to include vitaminwater zero, but the source information is the same. Let's unpack this a little.

"all water used in glacéau products comes from approved drinking water sources, and it already meets stringent epa regulations."

What does glacéau mean by "approved drinking water sources"? Approved by whom? And they say it meets EPA regulations. EPA = Environmental Protection Agency. That is well and good, but they are selling a beverage. Shouldn't glacéau be meeting regulations from the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration? Aren't there laws saying that bottled water companies have to tell the public where they get their water and what exactly is in it? The answer is yes- for the state of California. Thank you, California. Glacéau has a Bottled Water Report on their website for smartwater, but there are no Bottled Water Reports for vitaminwater products.

What is in a name? The product is called vitaminwater. As we know from recent news , lawyers for Coca-Cola, owners of glacéau, have admitted "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." That blows the first part of the name - "vitamin". By not publicly displaying the water sources for vitaminwater and vitaminwater zero, is Coca-Cola/glacéau saying their product isn't WATER? The bottle does specify it as a "nutrient enhanced water beverage". That is cutting things rather fine, don't you think?

Here is a link to glacéau smartwater Bottled Water Report, as required by the State of California: http://www.glaceau.com/media/smartwater_report.pdf

5 comments:

Kathryn Grace said...

That stuff just looks icky in the bottle. I don't care what chemicals they put in it, who wants to drink colored water? Lots of folks, I suppose. I'd rather get my vitamins eating a peach, thank you.

Thanks for posting this. Well worth the read.

Juli said...

Thanks, Kathryn. I'm not so terribly concerned about the stuff they add to the water. It is the fact that they are calling it water, selling it like water, yet seem to be skirting the laws governing water.

Whether it is legally water or not, vitaminwater has all the same problems of regular bottled water. And either they should obey existing laws applicable to bottled water, or they shouldn't call the product water. Period. No skirting around it by saying in small print "nutrient enhanced water beverage".

Isle Dance said...

I can't believe I assumed good things about this product.

Not that I ever used it. But still.

Gah.

Kathryn Grace said...

Totally agree with you about the water issue and their phrasing. Good old Orson Welles. He told us what to watch out for, didn't he?

daharja said...

*SNAP!*

I just tackled vitamin water (well, the category I used was "bottled fancy water" in my post 7 must-have items you should NEVER buy: the smart woman list.

Bottled fancy water came in at Number 5 - but who is counting?