Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can NYC be the new Fiji?

According to a WNBC article, consumers can now buy New York City tap water in lieu of popular bottle brands, such as Fiji and Voss. Founded in June 2008, Tap'd NY draws its water from the city's public water system and purifies it using reverse osmosis.

Craig Zucker, the founder of Tap'd NY said that his for-profit business emphasizes the message that water should be kept local--that shipping water into NYC from more exotic locales is an insult to the city. Zucker's company only pays the city water bill for its product. Twenty-ounce bottles of Tap'd NY are found in Manhattan stores for $1.50 (Fiji water costs at least about $2.45 for a twenty-two-ounce bottle).

It seems like the company has tapped into a cheap source of high quality water, poised to cater to urbanites with an addiction to bottled water. Remember Elizabeth's earlier blog that addressed Elizabeth Royte's book Bottlemania and the skyrocketing bottled water business. Royte's book particularly addresses the rise of bottled water despite the benefits of drinking from the tap. Royte discusses the discrepancy between living in a country where more than 89 percent of tap water meets or exceeds federal health and safety regulations, and living in a country in which more than 25 gallons of bottled water were consumed per capita in 2006.

The main question that now comes to mind is: Why would people buy water they could get for free? According to the company's manifesto, we should drink tap water whenever possible and buy local bottled water when tap is not convenient. The company also asks that consumers refill bottles and recycle when they are done. It will be exciting to see how consumers react to the new bottle on the shelf with such a unique business model.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Christine! I totally disagree with the privatization of something that is a public good. What's next - paying for air? It is so disturbing the power that the marketing and PR industry has over us.