A Californian woman is suing Trader Joe’s in federal court. According to the woman, Trader Joe’s implied that there were health benefits from drinking their alkaline bottled water. The woman claims that the store is unable to back up these claims with scientific studies, as reported by Food Navigator.
According to the plaintiff, drinking Trader Joe’s alkaline water offers no more benefits than any other bottled water. The company is charging more for the alkaline water and claims the pH 9.5 water contains electrolytes for taste.
President and Chief Science Officer of Consultancy IMAGINutrition, Anthony Almada, told Food Navigator that the evidence of the health benefits of alkaline water is “suggestive at best.”
Trader Joe’s is one of many companies offering water that claims to be healthier because it has added electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, infused hydrogen gas or is simply untreated raw water.
These brands claim to offer special benefits to those who drink these products and the companies charge premium prices for these “health” products. However, it is debatable whether these claims are true. Some dieticians claim that all most people need to do is replace electrolytes lost during exertion. This can be done with ordinary water and a balanced diet.
According to Food Dive, water has become a trendy space. In 2016, bottled water surpassed other beverages as the most popular drink in the United States. Therefore, it seems that the audience for these specialized products is growing. There is a lot of money to be made by marketing bottled water products as distinct and offering more appealing benefits than the competition.
For example, vapor-distilled Smartwater made $821 million in the 52 weeks that ended in March 2018. Live Water charges $37 for a glass jug of 2.5 gallons and $15 for refills.
A lawsuit, like the one filed against Trader Joe’s, may convince some consumers that certain types of bottled water that claim health benefits should be avoided, it could also attract more people to the products, especially if Trader Joe’s wins.
Winning is a distinct possibility for Trader Joe’s, according to the lawyers interviewed by Food Navigator. The lawyers said it is almost impossible for the plaintiffs to prove that the company has made any false benefit claims. The label states, “water with added electrolytes provides superior hydration or is refreshing.” This is a safe position for the company and difficult for the plaintiff to disprove.
By Jeanette Smith
Food Dive: Lawsuit: there are no benefits from drinking alkaline water
Image Courtesy of Richard Ricciardi's Flickr Page - Creative Commons License