97% of all bottled water sold in Europe is either natural mineral water or spring water. Each brand of natural mineral and spring water has its own distinctive taste, a unique set of properties and specific mineral composition which is derived from the geological conditions present in the area where the water is abstracted. This subsequently determines its natural flavour or taste.
Watch also: The types of bottled water – YouTube
One of the defining characteristics of natural mineral waters is their original purity. These waters originate from protected underground water sources and must be safe to drink at source, in its natural state, without disinfection or chemical treatment. Natural mineral water can only come from specific designated groundwater sources, such as natural exits or boreholes.
Each natural mineral water produced in an EU Member State must receive official recognition from that State’s competent national authorities. This named source must then be registered in the Official Journal of the European Union. Watch also: The official recognition of natural mineral waters – YouTube
No two types of bottled waters are the same. Each natural mineral water has a very distinctive taste. The taste depends on the waters’ specific mineral composition which is related to the geological make-up and the natural environment from where the water is abstracted.
Natural mineral water has a distinctive mineral composition, which always remains stable. The composition depends on the geographic location from where the water is drawn and is specific to each brand (ranging from a very low mineral content <50 mg/l, to very high >1500 mg/l).
Characteristic constituents, represented by the main minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, sulphate), give natural mineral water its natural balance and taste. These constituents must remain unaltered from the point of origin at source right to the final consumer and must be stated on the label. The label must also state the place of origin and the name of the source.
Natural mineral water must be bottled directly at source. This is done via direct, state-of the-art pipeline connections from the source to the bottling plant. In Europe, the transport of natural mineral water in tanker trucks is forbidden. Bottles are designed to protect the water quality and are fitted with a tamper-proof seal.
They must meet the highest quality standards and are strictly regulated by EU and national legislation to ensure that natural mineral waters are of proven natural origin, meet the highest quality standards and are protected from any pollution.
Some natural mineral waters may claim to provide certain health benefits, depending on their composition.
Natural mineral water can be either still or sparkling. Sparkling water, also known as carbonated water, contains carbon dioxide. This gas may be naturally occurring or may be added.