Nestlé: The Corporate Giant
Nestlé, based in Vevey, Switzerland, is the world’s largest food and beverage company. One of its subsidiaries, Greenwich, Connecticut-based Nestlé Waters North America, is the top U.S. bottled water company. Its Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Nestlé Pure Life, Ozarka, Ice Mountain and Zephyrhills brands of bottled water together registered sales of $997 million in 2007, which gave Nestlé Waters North America 30 percent maket share, according to the Beverage World’s 2008 report on the industry. This did not include sales from the company’s other brands, such as Perrier and Calistoga.
Nestlé Tries to Buy Water for Less Than What Local Residents Pay
Nestlé’s search for water has stirred up controversy in California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states. In McCloud, California, Nestlé sought groundwater for less than local residents pay. It tried to engineer a deal in which it would have paid about 1 cent to mine and then bottle every 123 gallons of the area’s groundwater — $0.000081 per gallon. By comparison, the average state rate for municipal use of groundwater is 1 cent per 40 gallons. Meanwhile, Nestlé can sell this water in a 16-ounce bottle for around $1.29, or $10.32 per gallon.