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2010/11/24

Same bottle, same water? Different bottles, same company?

This was going to be an article about the variety in the designs of the bottles of spring water that line the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets all over Australia. It’s quite obvious that there are hundreds of brands available from which consumers can choose, so the design of the packaging plays an important part in marketing the product.

However, looking at the bottles and reading the labels, combined with a little online research, led to a slight change of direction.

One of the things that quickly became apparent was that there are a number of brands that share the same bottle design. Obviously there are a limited number of bottle manufacturers supplying the spring water companies, but the question lay begging: If the bottles are the same then do they contain the same water as well?

It’s seems highly unlikely, for example, that the Deep Spring brand from Coca Cola Amatil, the Summit brand from Berri Limited, the 7 Eleven Stores generic brand, Munch, or the Love One brand which is bottled for Global Ethics Limited all contain the same water?

However closer inspection of the labels of two of these products reveals something that does raise suspicion. The label on Munch states that the water is filtered through the “…sandstone foothills of Kulnura, New South Wales” while the label on the Love One brand states  that it is bottled at the source and provides the company name and address as Coastal Springs, 847 George Downs Drive, Kulnura NSW. Hmmmm?

To further confuse matters, the completely original H20 Hipp Flask design from Hippfuture Pty Ltd which looks nothing like any of the bottles mentioned above, is also “Proudly bottled by Coastal Springs Pty Ltd”!

Does that mean then that the generic Coles brand of spring water, the Ice House brand and the cleverly branded, another bloody water, share the same water because they share the same waisted design bottle? Who’s to know? And if they do, should we know?

The other interesting thing that arose from looking at bottles and reading labels came from two of the most different brands and bottles in the market.

Comparing the bottle in which the Cool Ridge brand of spring water is sold with the Fiji Water bottle is like comparing chalk and cheese. The Cool Ridge bottle is not particularly striking even though it does have a moulded design feature, whereas the square shape of the Fiji Water bottle is quite unique which makes it instantly recognisable. The Fiji Water bottle also carries a label on the back that you can see through the bottle and the water.

Where these two brands come together is via the company structures behind them. A quick look at the Schweppes website reveals a heading, Our Brands, at the bottom of the home page showing both Cool Ridge and Fiji Water.

So who controls the market? Who owns the brands? The two major players in the market are Coca Cola Amatil and the Japanese multinational, Asahi, most well known for Asahi beer.

Coca Cola Amatil owns the Mt Franklin brand, along with Deep Spring, Neverfail, Taurina Spa and Peats Ridge Springs, plus the Pump brand of purified (filtered tap) water.  

Asahi owns Schweppes and also P&N Beverages, which, until recently, was the third largest competitor in the market. Schweppes owns the Cool Ridge brand and distributes Fiji Water under licence from its US parent, Roll International. P&N Beverages owns the Frantelle brand plus a purified water which it markets under it’s own name.

There’s also Golden Circle (now owned by HJ Heinz Co) who own the Adams Ale and Original Pure Water brands; Pepsico (Pepsi) who have the Aquafina brand; Bickfords Australia with Aqua Pura and their own Bickfords brand; and Sanitarium with WaterPlus and Water Fitness.   

Two other Japanese brewers that are also competing for a share of the Australian bottled water market are Kirin and Suntory. The former owns the Summit brand (owned by Berri which is owned by Lion Nathan which is owned by Kirin, which is owned by Mitsubishi, phew!) and the latter with Aqua, H2GO, Mizone and the imported Evian brand.

Mentioning Evian, of course, could open the floodgates to cover all the imported brands, however we’ll leave them for another time.

Along with all these big, multi-national conglomerates there’s also numerous other brands from smaller companies as well, of which Snowy Mountain Natural Spring Water is one and which is a single source spring water in a distinctive water droplet embossed bottle, independent and fully Australian owned.  

It’s always your choice.


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