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Canadian company gets into the Flow with spring water

Forget plastic bottles.

A new Canadian water company is offering an eco-friendly and more healthful alternative to plastic bottled water.

Flow, founded by Toronto entrepreneur Nicholas Reichenbach, sources naturally alkaline spring water from his family's own property in Mildmay, Ont. Flow is packaged in 500-millilitre recyclable carton-based TetraPaks and is PET and BPA free.

The water contains natural electrolytes and minerals such as calcium carbonate, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

“It appeals to conscious consumers… people who like high-quality, healthful water and really care about what they put into their body,” said Reichenbach. “They also equally care about minimizing their carbon footprint and minimizing their impact on the environment.”

According to the company, Flow’s springs originated as part of a glacier that was trapped under the earth’s surface around 10,000 years ago. It is replenished by rainwater that takes decades to pass through the earth’s surface and into an underground limestone aquifer.

Reichenbach said he was inspired to start Flow after attending the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The festival has a “no trace, zero impact” philosophy, so the 50,000 attendees recycle and pick up litter. “But at the end of it, there are mountains of plastic jugs because people have to drink water to stay hydrated,” said Reichenbach.

He set out to find a better way. “We’ve had that spring in our family for about 30 years and my father and I are naturalists, so we weren’t super excited about developing the spring or commercially selling the water in plastic,” said Reichenbach. After doing some research, he landed on TetraPak.

Reichenbach said Flow is in a different category than bottled water from big companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which “put reverse osmosis tap water into plastic… We’re in a category called 'healthy water,' which by my definition, is enhanced water with healthful benefits.”

According to Euromonitor, Canadian retail sales of bottled water increased by 3% in 2014, to $2.3 billion. A report by the research firm noted that there was higher demand for healthy, portable hydrating drinks, as consumers are focusing more on staying hydrated with natural products than with bottled water that contains preservatives and chemicals.

The suggested retail price for a 500-millilitre carton of Flow is between $1.99 and $2.49. The brand is being promoted through public relations, social media and in-store marketing, including iPads that show a video explaining how the water is sourced.

Flow will rolling out in May in more than 50 Toronto retail locations, and has plans to expand across Canada in markets including Ottawa.

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