PepsiCo admits using treated tap water in Aquafina, making many wonder about other bottled water on the market.
Under pressure from international public opinion about misleading marketing, PepsiCo has recently confirmed that water used in its Aquafina brand is treated tap water. Questions were then asked about the bottled water of Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle in Vietnam.
VET has repeatedly attempted to contact PepsiCo Vietnam to seek comment but has yet to receive a reply.
In 2013 Coca-Cola also admitted that the water for its Dasani brand also came from public water sources that was processed.
Speaking with local media, Mr. Nguyen Khoa My, Director of External Relations at Coca-Cola Vietnam, did not specify the source of bottled water produced by the company but said the treatment process was strict. “The water is taken from deep underground and processed through a filter, reverse osmosis, and sterilization ozone system,” Mr. My was quoted as saying.
Nestle, meanwhile, announced on its official website that bottled water and tap water can’t be compared. “The price of bottled water in particular and beverages packaged in general reflects the investment needed to ensure convenient, safe and quality products,” the company said. “These investments include checking, bottling, storage, and transport and all capital costs. Bottled water is not an alternative source and does not compete with tap water, which is the main water source for residents.”
Mr. Le Thang, former director of a factory producing pure water in Hanoi said that groundwater or tap water is of sufficient quality to produce bottled drinking water. “The decisive factor is the quality of the production lines and processes to create pure water,” he said. “So the source of water at PepsiCo or Coca-Cola being groundwater or tap water is not important.”
Vietnamese consumers, however, would like to know the source of water they use. Ms. Pham Lan, a tea lady in Hanoi, said that despite knowing that bottled water is only normal water that has been treated people still need to know the source, to feel more secure.
In 2014 the bottled water market in Vietnam recorded total sales of some $279 million, with average annual growth of 6 per cent per year from 2009 to 2014. The total volume reached 307 million liters.
The bottled water market Vietnam is dominated by four major brands: La Vie (Nestlé), Aquafina (PepsiCo), Vinh Hao (Vital), and Dasani (Coca-Cola Vietnam), which account for about 80 per cent of all sales.