Who Invented Bottled Water?
Bottled water is a commodity with deep cultural roots. It predates the United States’ independence by at least one hundred years. In the early nineteenth century, the waters of a mineral spring near Albany, NY, were bottled commercially for sale. Later, in the 19th century, natural mineral waters won international prizes at the World’s Columbian Expositions.
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There are three distinct channels through which bottled water is distributed to consumers. These are mass merchandisers, convenience stores and warehouse clubs. Each of these distribution channels has its own specific market. Mass merchandisers represent 18 percent of total volume, while convenience stores and warehouse clubs represent about 16 percent. Vending machines make up the remainder.
Plastic bottles are an important component of the bottled water industry. They are often recycled. Moreover, they help reduce pollution. However, plastic can leach into the water over time. This has prompted environmental organizations to criticize the bottled water industry.
The popularity of bottled water has grown since the early 1900s. The first reusable water bottle was invented in 1947. As new technologies made the cost of bottles more affordable, bottled water became a practical solution for mass consumption.
The history of bottled water is characterized by the deep cultural reverence for pure, fresh water. During the mid-nineteenth century, it was believed that the waters of natural mineral springs could provide medicinal benefits. At that time, the most popular bottled water source was Saratoga Springs. Some yuppies were just beginning to flex their consumer muscles when they bought Perrier.
After World War II, the use of plastic bottles was widespread. In addition, high-density polyethylene and PET bottles were introduced to make bottled water more affordable and accessible. Nathaniel Wyeth was the inventor of the PET plastic bottles.
After a period of decline, the bottled water industry resurfaced in the 1970s. New packaging materials, including PET, helped the bottled water industry achieve profitability. Today, bottled water is available in more than a dozen different varieties. Although some high-priced brands are more expensive than a gallon of gasoline, the average price is around $1.33.
The bottled water industry in the United States is made up of more than a hundred companies. They operate more than two hundred establishments, many of which employ at least twenty-five people. While most bottled water is sold in bulk containers, single-bottle retail channels are also available. One example is CanO Water.
In addition, there are many different flavors of flavored bottled water. Some have a very subtle taste, while others are more sweet and sour. Flavored water can be purchased in milk carton-like packaging, screw cap closures or even in reusable bottles.
In 2007, the bottled water industry is under scrutiny from the environmental community. While the industry’s growth has been lauded by the industry itself, it has been criticized by environmental advocates. This may explain why Bottledwaterworld, an organization that is dedicated to promoting the bottled water industry, is running a 2007 competition based on environmental themes.