The Hidden Journey to Your Refrigerator

Today, it's easier than ever to take for granted the fact that your favorite foods, whether they're shelf-stable or perishable, will always be available to you no matter the season. Just a few short generations ago people had limited food options, not just for financial reasons, but due to their local climate and the current season. The concept of year-round produce and fruit would sound like science fiction back then. After all, the first modern-day supermarket wasn’t even established until 1916 with the first Piggly Wiggly!

However, the fact that we have access to almost everything we want isn’t always a good thing. The amount of energy it takes to deliver a fresh stock of oranges from Mexico to your favorite supermarket in Pennsylvania is immense. Yet, the cost of that convenience is hidden from us and thus easily ignored. The same is true for the beverage selection at your local grocer—while it’s nice to have an everlasting stock of beverages from all across Europe, the hidden journey those imported beverages take to get to your refrigerator takes its toll.

Imported Beverages Leave a Big Footprint

Since 1961, the demand for world agricultural trade has increased at a steady pace. Via “The Case for Local Food in a Global Market”:

“The value of international trade in food has tripled since 1961, while the tonnage of food shipped between countries has grown fourfold, during a time when the human population only doubled.”

Researchers refer to this transportation cost as “food mileage”. To put it simply—food miles are a means to calculate the average distance an item must travel before it arrives at your supermarket.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture conducted a study to try and understand the relationship between locally produced products and their inherent carbon footprint versus products that require significant transportation. Their report found that locally produced products, when consciously manufactured, left a lower footprint and contributed significantly to the local economy:

“[the results find] that there is intrinsic economic gain to be achieved from local foods production.”

The Leopold Center researchers were surprised to find that even domestic products travel an average of 1,500 miles before they arrive at your grocery store.  Imagine the transportation miles accrued for an imported product from France (such as Perrier Sparkling Water)!  From Marseille (France) to New York is about 4000 nautical miles.  If it travels over land to reach Los Angeles, California, that adds another 2800 miles.  Using this carbon calculator, one 20’ container (estimated weight of 12.5 tons) traveling from Marseille, France to Los Angeles via rail, ship, and truck, emits 5 tons of CO2e into the atmosphere.

The Economical & Ecological Impact of Domestic Beverages

In contrast, Crystal Geyser 1977 Sparkling water is bottled and distributed primarily in the West. For a 12.5-ton container to travel from its birthplace of Calistoga, California, to the City of Angeles, it emits only 1 ton of CO2e. Even the farthest journey our sparkling water goes is an 1800-mile journey to Dallas, Texas.  This would be 2 tons of CO2e per 12.5-ton container.  By being produced and distributed domestically, Crystal Geyser 1977 Sparkling emits just a fraction of carbon compared to imported European waters.

And remember, these CO2e numbers are just for one container.  Hundreds of containers transport water across the Atlantic Ocean weekly to be distributed throughout the US.  Why purchase an imported water when Crystal Geyser 1977 is made right here in the USA?

Beyond the obvious benefits of a lower carbon footprint, American made products have positive impacts on the local and domestic economy. For one, the local economy retains an average of $68 for every $100 spent when you support a local business. And according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, local businesses create more jobs and provide better wages to your fellow community members.

You Are What You Drink

With incredible access to products from all across the world, consumers have more power than ever. And to quote a certain spider-centric comic book, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

The next time you’re at the grocery store in the soft drink aisle, you might be dazzled by the likes of Perrier, San Pellegrino, or Gerolsteiner. These beverages indeed have a certain imported prestige to them. Yet it's important to remember the hidden journey those drinks traveled to get on the shelf.  Consider the substantial carbon footprint that kind of travel creates. Furthermore, choosing a domestically produced product will have direct benefits to the local and national economy.

If you find the implications of choosing an imported beverage to be heavy on your conscience, then there’s an easy alternative! All Crystal Geyser 1977 Sparkling waters are proudly produced in California. We like to keep our product simple, so your choice is simple.

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