Take a look at the bottle on the right.
Everyone's seen Crystal Geyser before, right? Take a closer look. See anything different?
Yes, there's Japanese on the label.
I took this photo while in Japan last week, and Crystal Geyser bottles were everywhere. The label still says "Bottled at the source – Mt. Shasta, California" so we know where it came from.
Crystal Geyser is shipping water thousands of miles across the ocean. Across a Date Line even. How do they do that? In the U.S. large volume bottled water manufacturers have profit margins between 10 and 30% (specialty waters can be considerably more).
There's plenty of water in Japan, even a nice big volcano next to Tokyo that looks remarkably like Mt Shasta. And there are plenty of Japanese bottled water manufacturers. But Crystal Geyser competes, presumably successfully.
U.S. companies can figure out how to ship low margin water across the oceans and make money, but tech companies complain they can't compete against their global counterparts. Go figure…
Now I guess I should try to figure out how Fiji makes money shipping water to the U.S., but I think that answer is easier. For some reason we're willing to pay twice as much as other bottled water, and probably 100x the cost of tap water, to delude ourselves into thinking that Fijian water is somehow more pure and tasty and beneficial that basic tap water. I guess, in some warped way, that delusion can still create value from the perspective of the customer. Basic intelligence not required.
Andy Wagner says
My favorite “lean moment” from my Hawaii trip was when I paid *extra* to drink Hawaiian bottled water instead of Dasani (labeled “bottled in CA”) or Fiji water.
I couldn’t help but be disgusted that Coke and Pepsi didn’t have a local bottler.