Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coke's Eau De Sidcup Takes on the Rest; AS COCA-COLA SPARKS A ROW BY SELLING TAP WATER, WE PUT IT TO THE TASTE TEST

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Coke's Eau De Sidcup Takes on the Rest; AS COCA-COLA SPARKS A ROW BY SELLING TAP WATER, WE PUT IT TO THE TASTE TEST

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

IT IS the great water-cooler debate to beat them all.

Is expensive bottled water really worth paying over the odds for when a virtually identical drink is available from the tap - courtesy of Thames Water - for free?

The question is being asked after the "source" of Coca-Cola's new [pounds sterling]7million bottled still water brand Dasani was exposed as nothing more glamorous than the taps of Sidcup.

We asked a top London restaurateur to put Coca-Cola's new 95p a bottle drink, already dubbed "eau de Sidcup", to the test against the "real thing" - the stuff that pours out of the tap.

In the taste test, David Moore, owner of two-starred Michelin restaurant Pied - Terre, rated Dasani a much better drink than the Sidcup tap water, which he described as so full of chlorine it "smelled like a swimming pool."

The Evening Standard's finding comes after an episode that has brought huge embarrassment to the world's most powerful drink company. It has been compared with Del Boy Trotter's legendary efforts to market "Peckham Spring" in an episode of Only Fools And Horses.

It has brought new ammunition to those who claim that bottled water, of which Britons consumed two billion litres last year, is little more than a hugely successful marketing scam.

Dasani, a name conjured up by brand consultants to suggest "relaxation, pureness and replenishment" is already America's second best-selling bottled water.

In Britain, where it was launched last month, it is pumped from the same borehole in Sidcup used by Thames Water for local supplies.

However, Coca-Cola has insisted the 3,000 per cent mark-up on the price is justified by a further purification process which involved three filters to remove particles, debris and chemicals. The water then passes through a stage called reverse osmosis, which removes "bacteria, viruses, salts, minerals, sugars, proteins and toxin particles," Coca-Cola said.

Finally, minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium bicarbonate are added for taste.

The Dasani expose has outraged consumer groups and mineral water makers, who have accused Coca-Cola of misleading the public. …

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