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Hey, this is important stuff, people!
I am a fanatic for sparkling water. I will drink at least a liter daily, which can add up pretty quickly when it is the sparkling stuff and not the club stuff! Pellegrino sparkling water has always been my first choice, that is, until I discovered Trader Joe's (TJ's) version.
What I uncovered in taste, mouthfeel, and quality made a big change in just how much my daily "water fix" was going to cost me from now on. With the economy and budget constraints becoming more demanding, finding a happy place where my dollar stretches enough to matter while still providing me the quality I enjoy has become a critical part of life. This leaves my daily treat of sparkling water as a pivotal element during these budget-minded times.
Sparkling Water Price Comparison
S.Pellegrino Sparkling Water
These days, you can find Pellegrino just about anywhere that serves or sells bottled water. It is, after all, the top sparkling water around. Its popularity worldwide speaks to just how good this stuff is. So, when we apply the supply vs. demand rule, the cost of this emerald-colored bottle of fizzy H20 can begin to add up pretty quickly. The price will vary depending on where you shop, but as a general rule, you will find the cost to be as follows.
- A single, 750 ML (25.3 oz) size bottle - expect to pay between $1.50 to $2.00 (per bottle)
- A case of 12, 750 ML (25.3 oz) size bottles - at Costco expect to pay between $1.30 to $1.40 (per bottle)
- A case of 12, 750 ML (25.3 oz) size bottles - at Trader Joe's, expect to pay between $1.90 to $2.00 (per bottle)
This boils down to an average cost of $1.68 per bottle or just about $0.07 per ounce for the Pellegrino brand of bottled sparkling mineral water.
Trader Joe's Sparkling Water
When a product sports a store's brand name, it has been known to raise eyebrows in terms of quality. This makes perfect sense, cheaper always means lower quality, right? Well, not this time. A bottle of sparkling mineral water cost quite a bit less in TJ's brand, and the quality is very comparable to the Pellegrino brand. But, the real kicker is that the Pellegrino brand bottle offers 25.3 ounces (750 ML) of water, while the TJ's brand offers 42.3 ounces (1.25 liters) of water—a 17 ounce (about 532 ML) advantage for TJ's!
- A single, 1.25 liter (42.3 oz) size bottle - expect to pay between $1.25 to $1.30 (per bottle)
- A case of 12, 1.25 liter (42.3 oz) size bottles - expect to pay between $0.98 to $1.10 (per bottle)
This boils down to an average cost of $1.16 per bottle, or just about $0.04 per ounce for the Trader Joe's brand of bottled sparkling mineral water.
S. Pellegrino Vs. Trader Joe's Sparkling Water Taste Test
I admit it willingly, I am a sparkling bottled water snob. I am particular about the veracity and size of the bubbles, the sodium content, and, of course, the crispness of the flavor. So, to see for myself just how much of a difference there is between these two waters, I had a friend set up a little blind taste test. I was pretty certain I would have little trouble picking out the Pellegrino over the TJ's variety. To my surprise, things did not go as expected.
The Blind Taste Test
Test Glass A
As I sipped the first cool crisp test glass full of water, I noticed the fine quality of the bubbles, tingly and gentle on the tongue, and not too assertive. The flavor was pure and of a gratifying mineral-rich sort. In "three bears" terms, this test glass was "just right." So pleasant was this sip of water that I felt it had to absolutely be the Pellegrino.
Test Glass B
Next, I tasted the second glass of water. The earlier results seemed to be the same as those experienced with this taste test. I asked Jen if she was sure she had poured both brands. Of course, she snickered and confirmed that she had. The bubbles were again tiny and light and gently assertive. The flavor was as mineral crisp and pure tasting as the first glass. I felt a little bit like I had been duped. But this was not the case.
Note: Glass "A" was TJ's & glass "B" was Pellegrino's—I did not know this until the tasting was completed.
Results of Blind Taste Test
Honestly, I could not find any differences between these two bottled waters during the blind taste test. Here is the thing, the ingredients in both are pretty much the same; natural mineral water and carbonation. However, the TJ's brand has 35mg of sodium per 8-ounce (240 ML) serving, which I was certain I would be able to detect. I could not taste the sodium.
The Pellegrino has 10 mg of sodium per 8-ounce (240 ML) serving. The sodium content is negligible in terms of swaying my choice of one over the other, even if hypertensive concerns apply. What does sway me is the price. With the flavor and texture being virtually identical, the cost alone is well worth switching to the Trader Joe's brand. Which, since this little test, I have done!
Cost of Pellegrino Vs. Trader Joe's Sparkling Water
A single, 750 ML (25.3 oz) size bottle - expect to pay between $1.50 to $2.00 (per bottle)
A single, 1.25 liter (42.3 oz) size bottle - expect to pay between $1.25 to $1.30 (per bottle)
A case of 12, 750 ML (25.3 oz) size bottles - at Costco expect to pay between $1.20 to $1.30 (per bottle)
A case of 12, 1.25 liter (42.3 oz) size bottles - expect to pay between $0.98 to $1.10 (per bottle)
About a $0.52 saving per bottle for TJ's brand