‘Bottled mountain air’ – the latest trend, or just hot air?

Start-up company Swiss Alpine Air have this week launched their new  product – bottled Swiss mountain air.

The product promises to give people dwelling in heavily polluted cities the chance to breathe bursts of fresh clean air from a hand-held canister.

The company claims to collect the cleanest, purest air from the Swiss Alpine region and compress it into a handy aerosol.  The product also comes complete with an integral face mask so users can breathe the air in.

So is the product viable?

Certainly, polluted air is a growing problem.  According to the WHO, 98% of cities with populations of over 100,000 low to middle income people don’t have satisfactory air quality.

In some of the world’s mega cities such as Beijing and Delhi the problem has a direct impact on people’s health and wellbeing.  The Swiss Alps on the other hand, have crisp, unpolluted air.

So is the concept as far fetched as it sounds?

The Swiss company are certainly not the first to try to sell air.  One businessman already makes an income from selling canned air to wealthy chinese residents of heavily-polluted Beijing, while for some inexplicable reason a British expat in turn sells Beijing’s polluted air to souvenir collectors.  It seems that almost anything sells online.

Certainly, the company believe they will have a good market for their product.  A company spokesman explained they believe it is just a matter of time before selling fresh air becomes more widespread:

“Over forty years ago, people raised eyebrows about the concept of bottled water. Today it’s second nature to grab a bottle of Evian or Perrier.

“Each year so many tourists flock here to the Swiss Alps to enjoy the invigorating experience of its mountain vistas, and to breathe in the virgin pure air. It’s just a simple case of exporting the great Alpine air we have. We already export Swiss Alpine water, chocolate and cheese. Why not export our clean air too? It is the best air in the world!”

Polluted areas of China and India are the primary targets for Swiss Alpine Air, with the company already planning a branch in Beijing. The company also has its eye on the European commuter market.

“I heard the London underground was over 35 degrees this summer, I am sure they would love a breath of clean fresh air down there. I know what it’s like to have your nose stuck in someone else’s armpit on the tube!” Said CEO Danny Wurr.

In many of the world’s more polluted regions, weekend travel to mountainous regions simply isn’t an option.  At least for the time being, in the UK we can still experience the feeling on fresh, mountain air simply by driving to the nearest range, climbing a peak, breathing in the fresh air and maybe even indulging a little longer by camping on top.

However, for those who want the benefits without the climb, Swiss Alpine Air is now available to buy online.  The new 7 litre canisters come complete with an easy breathing mask and retails at SFr 19.95 (USD 21.00) (EUR 17.50) (GBP 16.50) and contain enough air for over 120 breaths of pure, clean Swiss Alpine Air with discounts for multiple purchases.

Will this be the next big thing, like bottled water, or will it just be a mass of hot air?  We await the outcome with interest.

The company is, meanwhile, seeking investors to facilitate its rapid growth in the new breathable air market.