Food and beverage giant Nestlé is preying on Latinos in the Bronx by selling them bottled water, a watchdog group claims.
Nestlé opened the country’s first Pure Life bottled water store in Longwood two years ago and has used Spanish television commercials to market the water to Latinos as a healthy product.
But Pure Life water is sourced from public water systems and is no better than tap water, which is free, according to Corporate Accountability International, a Boston-based watchdog group.
The group led a protest outside the Southern Blvd. store on Wednesday and conducted blind taste tests for passersby.
“New York has some of the best tap water in the country,” said Erin Diaz, an organizer with the group. “But Nestlé has been targeting Latinos, making people think that buying bottled water is the most responsible choice.”
Urbeno Estevez, 27, was shocked after taking a taste test.
“The Bronx water tasted the best,” said the Dominican Republic immigrant. “I usually buy bottled water at the store because we don’t drink the tap water in my country. Now I realize I should be drinking Bronx water.”
Nestlé, Pepsi and Coke dominate the $15 billion bottled water industry, and minority parents are three times more likely to buy bottled water, according to a be a new study from Medical College of Wisconsin researchers.
It found that they prefer bottled water because they believe it to be safer and cleaner.
Nestlé claims it supports people drinking more water, “regardless of whether it comes from a faucet or a bottle,” and admits that tap water is safe to drink.
The company insists that bottled water can help defeat obesity among Latinos. Pure Life ads urge people to buy water rather than soda pop.
But Diaz claims Nestlé markets to Latinos because many Latin American immigrants distrust tap water. Her group calls soda vs. bottled water a “false choice.”
“I don’t drink the water at home because bottled water is more safe,” said Honduran immigrant Maria Figueroa, 34, after taking a taste test.
The average American family spends up to $615 per year on bottled water, with Latinos and blacks spending more than whites. The Bronx is 53% Latino.
“Water is part of nature and it should be free,” said Pablo Gomez, a Honduran community leader in the Bronx.
Pure Life can be sourced from the public system, but the water is filtered to get rid of chemicals such as chlorine, said Jane Lazgin, Nestlé spokeswoman.
wow. preying on the fact we’re not used to being able to drink our tap water? fucking exploitation of immigrants 3rd world backgrounds, FTMFL.
I also like how they use the money to go back to our home countries, tell us our bodies don’t work and can’t nourish our babies via breast milk and that it’s abuse for us to not give our babies their nestle formula… with the undrinkable tap water since it’s expensive as fuck there too.
Nestle has a list of violations ten miles long. This is just one. They have the blood of millions on their hands and frankly don’t care. This is why our family boycotts them.