Expensive is a relative term. So when a 750ml bottle of water, claimed as extracted from polar glaciers and peddled at HK$950 were displayed at shelves of a high-end supermarket, reaction was quick and nasty. Why? Maybe unlike alcoholic drinks that also come with premium price, this one doesn’t make you feel tipsy or drunk.
Svalbardi, the bottled water in question, has since been pulled out of shelves at Great Food Hall in Pacific Place in Admiralty. At a price that’s 19 times more pricey than S Pellegrino, the next expensive bottled water in the aisle, it’s no wonder people might turn their heads and ask what does water sourced from “purest icebergs” would taste.
The brand name, ostentatiously labeled after the Norwegian archipelago located between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
To avoid futher criticism, the Pacific Place supermarket’s spokesman said it has since removed it from list of products for sale, adding that it’s been sold for a short period of time without elaborating the volume of sold bottles.
While the products founder Norwegian-American Jamal Qureshi saying the process of deriving drinking water from melting polar glacier is eco friendly and the company aims to mitigate the impact of global warming, not many are buying the idea.
“That’s totally environmentally unfriendly! And stupid!,” a comment on Facebook read.
Another said: “Sad reality is that someone who thinks it’s cool to have this on their dining table will buy it. If there was no market for it, it wouldn’t be on sale!”
In fairness, Svalbardi is not the first ultra-expensive item to be sold at Great Food Hall. It’s also selling a pack of two Japanese peaches for HK$228, and Japanese muscat grapes for HK$798 a pack.
And when talking about eco-friendliness, many Hong Kong people would be hypocrite to slam those behind this expensive drinking water. By buying bottled water — no matter how cheap — they help dispose a growing volume of plastic every day.