The Demise of Fiji…Bottled Water


If a tree falls in the forest does it still make a sound? Along those lines, if a bottled water company loses its namesake water source, will it still stick to the same exotic, yet bullshit, branding?

That’s the question we can all ask this week in light of the announcement that Fiji Water is closing its operations in, wait for it – Fiji. The company is allegedly “being singled out by the military appointed government for a massive tax increase.” Hmm, maybe Fijans are just a little smarter when it comes to understanding the nuances of the bottled water industry.

What kind of taxes are we talking about?

Fifteen cents per liter on companies extracting more than 3.5 million liters (920,000 gallons) of water a month. That’s up from the current one-third of one percent rate. Guess what? Fiji Water is the only company responsible for extracting that much liquid. Yes, that’s a hefty tax for a company to handle, and although it’s unclear exactly what that tax money would go to, it’s easy to posit that the Fijan government simply wants to make a decent profit off of what is already theirs. Private companies can only unabashedly profit off of a public resource for so long. At some point, someone says “stop.”

But politics aside, with their namesake facility shutting down, the real question is, does the name “Fiji Water” still hold or is a rebrand in order? I’m thinking “Crap Petro Product Drink That’s No Better Than What Comes Out of Your Tap” would be fitting.

Sorry for the bobo-types who were conned into believing that drinking water from the South Pacific would somehow make them healthier, smarter, and sexier. Give the Fijans their water and quit global marketing campaigns that glamorize a resource that most of us don’t need to be paying $4 plus for – a price tag that certainly isn’t internalizing the environmental and health costs that come from single-use plastics.

Image: Magpie372

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.