Press Clips: Scientists Refute Raw Water; Organic Milk Sales Decline

Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid

Last month, the New York Times reported on the growing trend of unfiltered, or “raw”, spring water. The Times profiled multiple startups, including Live Water and Liquid Eden, that claim to sell healthier water. The water is unfiltered, which the companies claim preserves beneficial minerals and bacteria, making for a completely natural product.

“Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Mukhande Singh, founder of Live Water, told the Times. “Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

The Times pointed out that while there is no scientific evidence that suggests fluoride is a mind-control drug, plenty of research has shown that it supports dental health.

While Singh and his dedicated base may swear by the product, doctors interviewed by the Times were stupefied. Similar to the movement against vaccines, scientific consensus opposes the drinking of unfiltered water. Consuming “raw” water carries significant risk, as unfiltered water can contain viruses, parasites, E. coli bacteria, and carcinogenic compounds. And an estimated 502,000 people die each year from contaminated water-induced diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization.

Nonetheless, there is both a consumer base and set of investors that swear by raw water. Zero Mass Water, a startup that installs home-based systems that collect water from the atmosphere, has secured $24 million in venture capital. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Doug Evans, founder of the defunct table-top cold pressed juice machine company Juicero, is a notable advocate of “raw” water.

Since the New York Times report, NBC News, Fortune, Popular Science, TIME and Forbes have all reported on the unfiltered water trend. And Live Water nearly doubled the price of their 2.5 Gallon Dispenser from $37 to $69 after the story was published.

Dairies Are Awash in Organic Milk as Consumers Jump to Alternatives

After four years of increasing sales, the demand for organic milk declined in 2017 as more shoppers have turned towards dairy-free alternatives, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In the past, sales of organic milk climbed as consumers viewed it as healthier than conventional dairy. But now, plant-based alternatives, such as almond and soy milk, are increasingly viewed as healthier than organic milk. Oftentimes, plant-based alternatives are also cheaper.

According to Nielsen data, organic milk peaked in 2016 at more than $1.42 billion before regressing to $1.37 billion in 2017. With a sudden surplus of organic milk, companies like Danone are using their organic milk for other products like cheese, yogurt and creamer.

“The premium dairy business continues to be pressured by the industry’s oversupply of organic milk,” Danone CFO Cécile Cabanis told the Journal. “We continue to take steps to reduce our organic-milk supplies.”

Retailers, such as Walmart and Kroger, are now devoting more shelf space to dairy-free alternatives. And farmers, many of whom have struggled with the decline of organic milk, are making changes as well. Sean Mallett, owner of Harmony Organic Dairy, is slaughtering some of his cows before the end of their milking life in order to readjust to the lowered demand.

Mary Pellettieri Made Mixers Her Business

Mary Pellettieri, co-founder of Top Note Tonic, was recently featured by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In 2014, Pellettieri launched Top Note with her husband Noah Swanson as an herbal syrup brand. Two years later, the couple shifted their mission to producing soft drinks and mixers, releasing three flavors: Indian Tonic, Bitter Lemon and Ginger Beer.

“We had to get into carbonated soft drinks,” said Pellettieri. “We were making the flavor and expecting the customer to put the sparkling water on top. Now we’re putting the flavor and sparkling water in the bottle as a carbonated soft drink.”

Pellettieri told the Journal Sentinel that she plans on developing a classic tonic in 2018 as well as a seasonal grapefruit mixer.

New Englanders Love Iced Coffee – Even in the Dead of Winter

Iced coffee in subzero temperatures? It seems absurd that a city that just shoveled its way out of the “bomb cyclone” winter storm would be seeking cold drinks, but Boston loves its iced coffee.

According to the Boston Globe, New Englanders’ devotion to iced coffee never wavers, a trend that local coffee chains are happy to provide for.

“You can pry my iced coffee from my cold, dead hands,” said Charlestown resident Anne Jarek in an email to the Globe. “Iced coffee is a way of life. End of story.”

An unscientific Twitter survey by the Globe found that 68% of 977 total respondents would drink iced coffee in subfreezing temperatures.

Big Expansion Coming to Oregon Bottle Bill

A recent article in The Bulletin explained changes to Oregon’s Beverage Container Act, which places a 10-cent deposit on canned and bottled beverages. Consumers can redeem their deposit at one of 22 BottleDrop Redemption Centers throughout Oregon — as long as their beverage was purchased in the state.

Not all beverages qualify for this refund, however. Products including wine, distilled spirits, milk and containers smaller than 4 ounces or larger than 1.5 liters are exempt from the deposit.

Redemption Centers do accept soda, water and beer bottles/cans. As of 2018, they also accept sports drinks, juice, kombucha, marijuana drinks, coffee and tea containers.

The World’s Biggest Brewing Company is Thirsty for Your Data

After seeing sales of its flagship beers Bud Light and Budweiser trend downward, AB InBev initially tried to break into the craft beer space by acquiring breweries like Goose Island and Devils Backbone. But after backlash from the craft beer community and AB InBev’s merger with SABMiller, which made any additional craft breweries acquisitions subject to U.S. Justice Department review, AB InBev shifted their strategy to collecting and utilizing consumer data.

The Washington Post delved into the work that ZX Ventures, a data-mining subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, provides for its parent company.

Through ZX Ventures, which purchased a minority stake in beer-rating site RateBeer, AB InBev can see what beers are popular and trending across the globe. AB InBev can’t sell their beer directly to these consumers, as regulation of the beer industry separates the producer, distributor and retailer in order to prevent monopolies. But with this data, AB InBev can selectively target specific marketplaces with their favorite drinks in order to maximize sales.