One of the vices of our modern lifestyle has been the excess use of plastic which has affected the water bodies on a larger scale. Plastic emits harmful carcinogenic substances in the water that cause cancer in humans and disrupt the marine and freshwater ecosystems.
To create awareness, UN observes World Water Day annually on March 22. It intends at focusing attention on importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
One of the biggest primary users of plastic is the FMCG sector, especially the food/drinks/beverage and the packaging industry. And no wonder, the most common form of plastic usage is a good old bottle of water.
This is where Veen stands apart. The Finland-based brand sources its water from remote and unpolluted areas of Finnish Lapland and Bhutan.
Spearheaded by Ganesh Iyer, Director operations India & Indian Subcontinent, Veen sets itself apart from other players in the market in terms of sustainable packaging. It comes in premium, recyclable bottle made of extra flint crystal clear glass.
We caught up with Iyer, who is also the country’s first and only Water Sommelier, to talk about this.
- Is there any gold standard for ‘drinking water’? What should one look for while choosing drinking water for daily use?
Ideally, in the world of a water sommelier, a gold standard for drinking water would be any natural, mineral water that is bottled in premium glass packaging. When it comes to water for the day to day consumption for the man on the street, the best drink, from a hygiene and safety parameter, is boiled water.
- What is the difference between a packaged/bottled water and natural mineral water?
Natural mineral water which is bottled at the pristine source (and not processed in any form) maintains its neutrality, virginality, pH level, and the overall Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) when served in a premium glass packaging. It therefore acts as a perfect accompaniment to a finely curated meal and in doing so, one gets a complete fine dine experience.
In comparison, packaged drinking water served in PET packaging is just purified water devoid of any natural minerals and therefore does nothing to enhance the fine dining experience.
- How does Veen set itself apart from other players in the premium packaged water segment?
Without water there would be no wines. You wouldn’t be sipping your favourite single malt or brewing your relaxing cupper neither. Similar to growing different grape varieties in different regions and vineyards, Veen has found multiple, natural spring sources where it produces distinctive bottled water products of individual characteristics.
Finnish Lapland is Veen’s place of origin and the home of its first spring source. The brand discovered its second home in 2014, the source of its natural mineral water spring in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, a carbon negative nation.
Veen’s water sources are among the purest waters and environments on the planet. Our sources are exceptionally rare in characteristic, in that they are in extremely remote, unpopulated and unpolluted parts of the world. Additionally, the sources are no less than superior in virginal which means the water is unspoiled by nitrate with 0mg per litre.
- Who is the target segment of Veen in India? Has it diversified since its inception in 2012?
Veen essentially operates in the B2B segment wherein our customers are hotels, restaurants, cafes, premium caterers, and HNIs and it continues to grow. A nascent addition to this list has been close to 70-80 corporate houses on a pan India basis who are going green as a part of the Anti Plastic Campaign and have now become our loyal customers. To name a few, we have Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, ACC, Sterling Holidays, Rahejas, Wipro, Anand Automotive, Hero Motors etc.
- What are the fun ways we can pair Veen water to other gastronomic experience?
Across the globe, there are quite a few culinary hotspots/restaurants that have taken that leap of fine dine experience so much so that they have a water menu which essentially lists down the characteristics of the different types of natural mineral waters and sparkling waters and their pairing with foods which either complements or has a contrast to the texture of the said dish.
So for eg, a barbecue dish can be best relished with either a standard natural mineral water which has a good amount of TDS or sparkling water which has heavy bubbles. Likewise, a seafood salad or sushi is best paired with a sparkling water that is low on the carbonation so to ensure that the relative rawness of the dish is maintained without the carbonation overpowering it. Likewise, a fresh block of cheese is best enjoyed with waters which have high levels of bicarbonate.