Why buy mineral water?

The British public spends £1.7 billion a year on bottled water — and about half the population does so, regularly. Why?

In some parts of the world, bottled water is the only safe form of water, but this is certainly not the case in the UK. Our expensive taste for mineral water can only be ascribed to three main reasons: fashion (hence the emphasis given to publicity and the styling of the product); a belief that mineral water is better for you; and — perhaps the most important of all — it tastes better.

Blind tasting

If you think mineral water tastes better than tap water, then that is a fair reason to buy it. But if this is your argument, you should first accept the challenge of a blind tasting.

Take equal quantities of all of, or just some of, the following:

  • one or two of your favourite (still) mineral waters
  • some filtered tap water
  • some tap water that has been left to stand for an hour (to let the chlorine evaporate off)
  • some water straight from the tap

Put them in uniform containers; mark them, but conceal their identity. Place all the samples in the fridge for an hour. Now taste each, one after the other, and see which one you prefer. You may be surprised.

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