Almost every Indian home has a water purifier. Those living in areas with source water having high TDS levels (over 500 ppm) usually have RO water purifiers to purify the source water. However, the problem arises when you travel out of your home. Since you cannot take your RO water purifier wherever you go, you must rely on mineral or packaged drinking water to quench your thirst.
That brings us to the question – What is the difference between mineral and packaged drinking water?
The natural reaction would be – Both are the same, but are they? They are not because the original water source and the purification methods differ. So, the water tastes differently.
What is mineral water?
Mineral water, as the name suggests, is pure water enriched with minerals. For example, the water flowing through the mountains from its source is mineral water because it collects essential minerals on its way down to the plains. However, the same water gets contaminated with human, plant, and animal waste in its journey. Therefore, it requires purification before being certified fit for human consumption.
Thus, mineral water is purified water collected from sources close to the mountains and glaciers and purified to remove any impurities. For example, Himalaya Mineral Water is natural mineral water sourced from areas near the Himalayan mountain range and filtered through layers of Himalayan rock in water plants before being packaged and delivered for human consumption.
This water is rich in minerals because it collects them through the mountains. Since it becomes contaminated, the manufacturers subject it to filtration using multiple layers of the same Himalayan rocks through which it had flown earlier. This process purifies the water and adds/replenishes essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., to produce high-quality pure water. Since this water contains minerals, its pH is higher than 7, making it slightly alkaline.
Himalaya Mineral water is available in a package comprising 12 bottles of 1L each. The overall cost is Rs 840.00 on Amazon. Therefore, one 1L bottle of Himalaya Mineral water costs Rs 70.
What is packaged drinking water?
Packaged drinking water is bottled water you get almost everywhere for Rs 15 or Rs 20 per liter. For example, Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley, etc., are prominently packaged drinking water brands. Some packaged drinking water brands name their products mineral water, but they do not qualify as mineral water.
Packaged drinking water differs from mineral water because the water source is different. Packaged drinking water is water from any source subjected to RO and other water purification methods to make it pure and fit for human consumption.
Since the RO water purification process eliminates essential minerals with the TDS, RO-purified water does not taste well. Besides, it does not have any mineral content. Therefore, packaged drinking water manufacturers use various methods to replenish the lost minerals and restore their content. Hence, they call it mineral water. Packaged drinking water is also slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7 and 8.
Difference between mineral and packaged drinking water
The prime difference between mineral and packaged drinking water is that mineral water is not subjected to RO water purification because the source water does not have high TDS levels. On the other hand, packaged drinking water is RO-purified water replenished with essential minerals artificially.
Secondly, mineral water is made from sources close to the mountain ranges, where the water has a high chance of collecting essential minerals naturally through the mountain rocks. Packaged drinking water is RO-purified water from any water source and replenished with lost minerals artificially.