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How to Sell Tap Water

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The tidal debate regarding drinking water is pretty spent once it laps at the supermarket aisle. Consumers who are aware of the issue either have decided to keep buying bottled H2O, or they've gone back to tap water, and have purchased reusable bottles and all the accessories that make faucet water more convenient and portable.

water-pitcher.jpgWhere does this leave supermarkets? Right in the middle, where they want to be. We just returned from a drinking water symposium sponsored by a new player in the filtered water category, ZeroWater. The Bensalem, Pa.-based company already has a kitchen cooler system that's been available at select home improvement stores. Now they're going deep retail and offering a refrigerator-friendly 8-cup pitcher (see photo).

The panel discussion hosted by the company included the author of the book Bottlemania, a pediatrician, and a holistic health counselor. Each had their own take on the benefits of drinking tap water over bottled. Reasons varied from the environmental to the medical to the practical.

The questions in my mind are: Why aren't more supermarkets participating in the discussion? Do they offer reusable bottles? Do they have pitcher systems like ZeroWater, or Brita or Pur? Where are they selling them? Are they buried in nonfoods or up front with the cases and jugs of bottled water, along with some information and guidance?

Supermarkets always like to boast how they provide the best choices. This is one opportunity, closely tied to health and wellness, that mainstream retailers seem to be missing.

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