Why Is Water More Expensive Than Soda (Pop)?
November 10, 2007 by Fernando Duran
There are a bunch of places where I go to lunch and in a couple of them the can of soda is $1 and bottled water is $1.50 or more. I mean soda is water plus some other unhealthy stuff like sugar (actually most likely High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS, which is everywhere due to corn subsidies in the US) , so how come an aluminum can with water and other ingredients is more expensive than a plastic bottle of just water?
And it's not like all the bottled water comes from some far-away pristine underground spring where is carefully bottled in all its purity, but for example here in Ontario the Aquafina water bottle (from Pepsi) is tap water. I kid you not, it's right there in the label: "water from the public distribution of Mississauga" and I'm pretty sure they didn't volunteer that bit of information. Canadian public water is considered one of the best in the world and we have the biggest reserves of it by the way, but come on, tap water?
By the way,in North America some people refer to the carbonated drinks as "soda" (most US, especially in the south) and other people call it "pop" (mostly New England and Canada). In Spain it's a "refreshment" and in Chile is a "drink" (yes, and they really drink a lot of it as we can guess from the generalized word, one of the biggest consumers per capita in the world).
Besides explanations based on offer and demand I think the difference in price comes from the difference in size; just pure transportation and logistics costs. We can see how in electronics when a product is commoditized and becomes cheaper and cheaper at the end its price is pretty much determined by its size. VCRs, DVD players got as cheap as about $40 - $20 and then they stayed there; you need to charge at least $20 and make a buck or two for selling a box the size of a VCR, regardless if it's full of electronics or sand.