Water forms an essential part of every living being. After air, water is the most important necessity for life. Water plays a number of functions for the body. It serves as the body's transportation system, it acts as a lubricant, it regulates the body temperature etc. The eulogy for water is an unending thing. In fact more than 2/3rd of the human body is made of water. The importance of water for human body can be well accessed from the fact that if the amount of water in our body is reduced by just 1-2%, we feel very thirsty. If it's reduced by 5%, our skin will shrink and we will have difficulty moving our muscles and if it's reduced by 10%, we will die.
Moreover with this commodity being a human necessity it makes best sense to do business in. As a normal human being requires on an average needs 2-3 litres of water everyday and world population is more than 6 billion (growing at 2-3% annually), the business opportunity is humongous and the potential is largely untapped. These facts about water added to the growing number of cases of water borne diseases, increasing water pollution, increasing urbanization, increasing scarcity of pure and safe water etc. have made the bottled water business quite lucrative. In addition with getting pure drinking water from municipal taps in cities and towns becoming a luxury the scenario has become so lucrative in business sense that the opportunity is being misused by a number of companies especially in our country. These companies are selling plain tap water under the name of mineral water and are be-fooling consumers. The situation has got aggravated by lack of awareness among common people about mineral water and also due to lack of initiatives on part of the government both on count of setting stringent norms as well as on taking action against non-compliers. In fact one of the major factor for flourishing of the sector is the public fear that water supplied by civic bodies is impure.
1.1 HISTORY OF MINERAL WATER
POPULARITY OF MINERAL WATER:
The tradition of bottled water and mineral water is not very old. Even in western countries the practice of bottled drinking water started in 1950s. The trend of having mineral water gained grounds in the market.
Since ancient time people have used water from mineral springs, especially hot springs, for bathing due to its supposed therapeutic value for rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases, and various other ailments. Depending on the temperature of the water, the location, the altitude, and the climate at the spring, it can be used to cure different ailments. This started the trend of using mineral water for drinking purpose to exploit the therapeutic value of the water. This trend started gaining momentum in mid 1970s and since then large quantities of bottled water from mineral springs in France and other European countries are exported every year.
The concept of bottled has been quite prevalent in western countries due to greater health consciousness and higher awareness about health and hygiene. The international standards regarding bottled water are so stringent that for a particular brand of water to be certified as bottled water it has to get approvals on four levels: federal, state, trade association and individual company levels.
In United States, the bottled water industry is regulated on four levels: federal (by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a food product), state, industry association, and individual company. EPA (Environment Protection Agency) regulates public water systems. FDA regulates bottled water that crosses state lines.
SOME OF THE STANDARDS GOVERNING THE BOTTLED WATER INDUSTRY IN US ARE:
➢ Water is classified as bottled water or drinking water, if it meets all applicable federal and state standards, is sealed in a sanitary container and is sold for human consumption. ➢ Bottled water cannot contain sweeteners...