Automatic Merchandiser

OCT 2011

Automatic Merchandiser serves the business management, marketing, technology and product information needs of its readers including vending operators, coffee service operators, product brokers, and product and equipment distributors in print.

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Page 17 of 39

W AT E R P U R I F I C AT I O N Customers will pay for better water By Emily Refermat, Managing Editor With increased customer education on fi ltration benefi ts, water can be a profi table add-on service. I t's no secret locations are money conscious when it comes to vending and offi ce coffee service. However, water service is trending upwards. According to the Water Quality Association, a non- profi t international trade association representing the water treatment industry, more than half of Americans are concerned about the quality of their water and will take action in their homes, revealed by a 2011 inde- pendent survey by Applied Research-West, Inc. The study found a majority of consumers are now willing to pay more to eliminate contaminants, especially those respondents who had experienced a "boil water alert," (about 19 percent). More than half typically purchased a fi lter pitcher or end of tap device, compared to 38 percent in 2008. Additionally, 54 percent are concerned about health contaminants in tap water, and 42 percent believe the water is not as safe as it should be. This has implications for refreshment service opera- tors because these people are decision makers when it comes to adding water service. And the good news is there are more options than ever to satisfy their con- cerns, including better sanitation processes that don't waste water. MULTIPLE FILTER OPTIONS AVAILABLE "It's really just educating the end user what options there are," said Cliff Rosen, president of KoolTek. He recom- mends operators open with a "good, better, best" presenta- tion of water fi ltration. This way, the location can balance cost with their desire for fi ltered water. Filters have really come a long way, according to Rosen. For coffee brewers, he recommends a 5 micron carbon fi lter, which eliminates most contaminants that will affect taste and will take out odors. A micron is a unit of measurement. The smaller the micron number, the better the fi ltration, because it prevents particles and parasites of smaller sizes from going through the fi lter with the water. 16 Automatic Merchandiser October 2011 In the case of the coffee brewer, the water is being boiled, so more intense fi ltration usually isn't necessary. For drinking water, Rosen said the fi lters can now go down to a half micron to fi lter out extremely tiny impurities. "To give you a comparison, a human hair is 100 microns," said Rosen. "The fi ltration available today is just mind boggling." CONSUMERS CONCERNED ABOUT HEALTH CONTAMINANTS IN TAP WATER ● Concerned ● Not concerned CONSUMERS BELIEVE WATER IS NOT AS SAFE AS IT SHOULD BE ● Not as safe ● Safe Source: Applied Research-West, Inc. More expensive options include sterilizing the water. Five years ago, everyone wanted reverse osmosis systems, remembers Rosen, but even with the units becoming more effi cient, they can waste three to four gallons of water to make one gallon because of the pressure required to force water through the membrane. Instead, the trend is towards ultra violet (UV) treatment, where the UV light passes through the water and breaks down the DNA of hard-shell bacteria. Ozone units also sterilize water, although these are not as popular because the term "ozone" disturbs end users. 58% 42% 46% 54%

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