Is Dasani Really All That Different From Other Bottled Water Brands?

Dasani faced a ton of criticism on social media back in 2020, but is this particular brand really that different from other bottled waters?

According to Coca-Cola Canada, Dasani first hit the market in 1999. Just five years later, International reported that it had become the second-most popular brand in the U.S. However, in the U.K., consumers were a little less enamored. March 2004, in particular, wasn't a great time for the brand in the country. At the start of the month, BBC News reported that Dasani was merely tap water

While that might have been forgiven, just weeks later, International revealed that U.K. authorities had found high levels of bromate in the water and that Coca-Cola had recalled nearly half a million bottles. As the cherry on top, Dasani had been set for release in Germany and France — but because of the controversy, that was postponed indefinitely.

Since then, Dasani has dealt with countless waves of drama. However, in 2020, things took a more serious turn for the brand, when Shane Dawson posted a YouTube video with several conspiracy theories against them. From theorists complaining that Dasani's ingredients could be deadly, to commenters suggesting that the addition of salt made them thirstier, it wasn't a great look — and when other bottled water brands were bought en masse in the early pandemic, Dasani was left high and dry (via Mail Online). Our question remains, though: Is Dasani really that different from its competitors? 

According to the experts, not really

Twitter users poked fun at Dasani for its supermarket staying power in the midst of pre-lockdown stockpiling. One user joked, "[I] laugh everytime, all the water is gone except dasani." However, when it comes down to it, Dasani isn't all that different from its competitors. 

Speaking to Business Insider in wake of the drama, water scientist Peter Gleick pointed out that many other brands were selling purified tap water, and that it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Sure enough, the FDA points out that there are many bottled water brands that use "municipal sources" (ie. tap water) for their product. As for the additives, Gleick explained that they weren't unheard of, either: "The different types of minerals sort of determine the taste for the water, and they want Dasani to taste the same everywhere." And, speaking to concerns that salt was added to Dasani to make customers thirstier, Gleick chalked it up to, "One of these urban myths ... The salt content of Dasani is very low." 

So, with all that said, no, Dasani isn't dangerous, nor is it an anomaly. However, choosing to avoid it might come down to personal preference. As water sommelier Martin Riese told Mel, paying for any purified tap water is something he'd avoid, whatever the brand. Pointing out that Smartwater falls into that category, too, he summed it up as, "Nothing else than filtered tap water created in a factory." Not unusual, but not ideal, either.