Zephyrhills: The Bottled Water Debate

Last week I was involved in a friendly debate about bottled water, as to which brand has the best taste. I’m rather neutral on this issue. I think that all bottled water is basically the same. I can’t tell the difference among any of them. I don’t stockpile bottled water, but when I do occasionally buy some, I buy the cheapest brand on the shelf.

If I had to pick a single brand as the best, I’d choose Fiji. Why? Because it costs more. It must be better, right? It also helps that the bottle is uniquely square. The water has a way of shimmering down the side of the plastic, which makes it look more appealing. Of course, I’m sure that these are all calculated efforts to trick the mind into thinking that their product is better than the competition. I still believe that all bottled water is pretty much the same.

I have two coworkers who are originally from Florida. They both swear that the best bottled water on the planet is Zephyrhills. Supposedly, it is gathered from natural springs in the state of Florida. These two people insist with all of their might that no other water comes anywhere close to tasting as good as Zephyrhills. Personally, I can’t tell any difference at all. Zephyrhills tastes no better and no worse than any other water.

After listening to them go on and on about it, I felt inclined to tell them that there are only two kinds of water: salted and unsalted.

Zephyrhills isn’t sold where I live. One of these two coworkers is so enamored with this water that she gives money to another woman in the office to buy cases of it when she travels down to Florida. She buys a whole carload of it at once. I’m not exaggerating! Personally, I think that is crazy. Not only is it a terrible waste of resources, there is simply no way that this water is any different than the others. It’s hilarious to see how elated she is to get her hands on a bottle of Zephyrhills. I’ve tried to tell her that it’s no different than other brands, like Deer Park or Aquafina, but she firmly insists that I am wrong. She can taste the difference, she says.

I took to the Internet in search of evidence to support my argument. It didn’t take long to uncover some interesting facts.

First, FDA regulations allow water bottlers to say that their water comes from a natural spring even when it doesn’t. Any company can claim that they are selling natural spring water. It is a meaningless term.

Now for the kicker! It comes from a report in the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida newspaper. The article clearly states that both Zephyrhills and Deer Park bottle their water at the exact same plant using the exact same water. That’s right — two different labels, two different prices, but the exact same water. Boom. I rest my case.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go take a drink straight from the faucet at my kitchen sink.

Author: Craig Tisinger


6 thoughts on “Zephyrhills: The Bottled Water Debate”

  1. I also buy bottled water, the brand that is cheap and on sale. The best to me is Fiji, for the taste, most of the all the shape of the bottle.. Love it !! Well, it does taste pretty good. When I was growing up, the thought of buying water in a bottle was sheer crazy. We drank water from a garden hose for heavens sake, now that was nasty, but I lived to tell it.

  2. Completely agree, it’s ridiculous. I can’t say I can ever really tell a difference, short of when drinking bottled water versus say well water, and that article explains why. It’s not about water quality for most people, it’s about branding. I’m not sure if I think this sort of corporate slight of hand should be regulated away, or if we should just let the people that buy into this continue to get scammed because they deserve it.

  3. You know, as a country we’ve spent countless dollars making sure our tap water is completely safe to drink. We even add fluoride to our water which keeps our teeth healthy (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists out there who think that it’s added for mind control). Regardless of what you believe, tap water is completely safe to drink. No one should be spending money on bottled water, especially when our economy is on the rebound.

    I saw a funny picture on facebook the other day of a black kid in africa looking at a lady giving him a bottle of water and the caption said “so, let me get this straight, you have so much water that you take shits in it?” Funny caption, but it does hit the point home…we have enough water for our needs, why spend extra money on it.

  4. Great blog! However, I, for one, am picky about my water. I find some brands to have an eggy or slightly bitter flavor of sorts, though water is supposed to be taste and flavor-less. Interestingly enough, Deerpark and Zephyrhills are my brands of choice!

  5. I am not sure how and why but I do feel the difference in drinking water and mineral water. I noticed that bottled water labelled as mineral water has a different taste to drinking water. I am one who cannot drink mineral water as I gag when I do because of the taste. Hence, price and “drinking water” is my usual decision maker. Oh another note…. More expensive does not equal better! 😀 Pay a visit to Asia and you will truly comprehend this fact.

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