Photo: Group Claims Nestle's "Pure Life" Water Campaign Manipulates Hispanic Communities
On November 2nd, as the first Nestlé Pure Life retail store celebrated its two-year anniversary, more than a dozen college campuses, and communities around the country are joining a national initiative led by Corporate Accountability International exposing Nestlé’s manipulative marketing of bottled water and calling on Nestlé to stop its aggressive marketing in Latino communities. The Swiss transnational’s Pure Life brand, marketed on its health benefits, is sourced from public water systems and sold back to consumers at hundreds of times the price.
The action is spurred by a recent study in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine that found that Latino and black parents were three times more likely to choose bottled water over the tap for their children, citing safety and health concerns as the primary reason.
And throughout the last 30 years, bottled water corporations like Nestlé, Pepsi and Coke have helped build a $15 billion U.S. bottled water market by casting doubts on public drinking water systems.
Many members of Latino immigrant communities come from countries where many people lack access to clean, safe drinking water from public sources. So now, the very communities who understand first-hand the need for strong public water systems are the ones being targeted for aggressive market expansion of expensive, branded bottled water. Meanwhile, the public water flowing from their taps is held to a higher standard of accountability for its quality and safety.
“Nestlé’s targeting of Latinos is just the latest attempt by bottled water corporations to try to convince communities and individuals that the only choice for families looking to choose healthy beverages is bottled water,” said Kristin Urquiza, Think Outside the Bottle Campaign Director. “But the fact is that bottled water has negative social and environmental impacts: it‘s bad for our public water systems, it‘s bad for our pocketbooks, and it‘s bad for the environment.”
“All we’re asking for is some honesty and transparency in Nestle’s marketing, If those small things are too much to ask, we have to wonder why company marketers are targeting Hispanics so aggressively and so specifically,” said Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva. “Anyone selling bottled water as a cure for the world’s environmental and health problems is selling snake oil, and working families should know all there is to know before they buy the hype. This campaign is a smart way to get the word out, and I wholeheartedly support getting Nestle to come clean today.”