For the first time ever, sales of bottled water are outpacing sales of soda. Although this may sound like a positive result of the rise of health-conscious Americans — and in some ways it is — it can be mostly attributed to crumbling infrastructure, according to Bloomberg.
Big Beverage companies like Nestle Waters, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group note the change in their product sales as a result of tap water panics in places like Flint, Michigan, where officials are being arrested over unsafe lead levels.
In 2001, Americans were consuming 37 gallons of soda annually and just 12 gallons of bottled water. This year, those numbers are set to switch with Americans projected to drink 27.4 gallons of bottled water this year, 1.2 gallons more than soda, according to Euromonitor statistics.
Bottled water is, of course, much more expensive to produce: It costs about 2,000 times more than tap water facilities, according to Bloomberg.
But in cities like Flint where water safety is still of paramount importance, distributing water bottles is not as helpful as it appears.
“Bottled water might be a Band-Aid solution for situations like Flint,” John Stewart, deputy director of Corporate Accountability International, told Bloomberg. “But it is definitely not a long-term solution for providing daily drinking water needs.”