The consumer organization Foodwatch has awarded Coca-Cola's mineral water Glacéau Smartwater the negative consumer prize Golden Cream Puff 2018 for allegedly deceiving consumers.
Foodwatch criticizes that the “vapor distilled natural mineral water for a pure, crisp taste“ which is „inspired by clouds“ is not better than conventional water but up to seven times more expensive. The retail price of the product is € 1.65 per liter, while the price of other waters range from € 0.22 up to € 0.92 per liter. Foodwatch also claims that the special treatment of the water is “a nutritionally completely senseless process” and “a completely unnecessary [marketing] trick”.
Coca-Cola describes the processing method as follows: "We let natural mineral water evaporate and condense and then add mineral salts to give Smartwater its crisp, fresh taste."
In an online vote, almost one third of the approximately 70,000 participants voted Glacéau Smartwater the "most sincere advertising lie" of the year. Other nominees were Kids Tomato Ketchup by Heinz, Corny Milk by Schwartau, Cooking Oil Olive by Dennree and Pea Stew by Edeka.
Foodwatch is a European advocacy group that focuses on protecting consumer rights as they pertain to food quality. It was founded in October 2002 in Berlin by former Greenpeace executive director Thilo Bode. For eight years, Foodwatch is now awarding the prize Golden Cream Puff given to the product whose packaging is the most misleading as voted by visitors to the website. This year, consumers could for the first time propose candidates themselves on the foodwatch complaints platform.
Confronted with Foodwatch’s allegations, Coca-Cola Germany responded that it considers the award unjustified and does not accept it. The company said the declaration and labeling of the water are transparent and comply with food regulations. All statements on the drink and its ingredients are approved. In principle, different prices for products are not only common in the food industry.
According to Coca Cola, Glacéau Smartwater is already successful in other countries and has been available in Germany since May 2018.