Home: April - May 2006 › Springs eternal
25/12/2006 | Channel:
Adelholzener Alpenquellen makes a series of still
and sparkling mineral water based drinks
With one of the longest histories of any mineral water company in Germany, Adelholzener Alpenquellen produces a range of water and fruit juice based drinks for retail and convenience markets throughout Europe and Asia. With a geographical coverage that reaches 15 countries worldwide, the company has established a big name for itself in the industry, as well as becoming a consumer favourite in a number of nations.
The company's history dates back over 1700 years with the discovery of a spring in Andlos Woods by the missionary St Primus. The spring was used as a health spa, and then in 1875 the first mineral water was bottled there, for distribution in the local area. Since this the company has moved from the original clay bottles to returnable
glass and PET, and then oneway PET, allowing for a much grander scale of production. As well as changing the packaging, Adelholzener has expanded the products it has on offer, adding to the mineral water with a series of flavoured and
oxygenated drinks for a more adventurous segment of the market.
Today the company is focusing its efforts Today the company is focusing its efforts on launching new products, and has recently introduced a new addition to its Active line; Active Fresh. The drink is made with a mix of sparkling Adelholzener mineral water and blended fruit juices and is aimed at the spritzer market, a sector that is very large in Germany.
Stefan Hoechter, the company's managing director, sets out the preparation that has been carried out for the launch on the local market: "Active Fresh has been released as part of the Active brand, and has benefited from the success of Active 02, both of which have very similar packaging and design. It has been quite an achievement, because we've entered into the spritzer segment, using the Active 02 brand, which is oxygenated mineral water. Our strategic aim was to diversify the brand into such a different category without stretching the brand too much. We had to do a lot of R&D, all of which has taken us about a year, in order to formulate the product and work on the various advertising campaigns to accompany it."
With this new beverage on the domestic market now, the company is hoping to build on its position in Germany. The recent launch has been a great success, and an industry magazine survey of petrol station managers has put the Active Fresh launch as the best in the category non-alcoholic drinks for the last 12 months. This is particularly notable because it put Bonaqa Fruit, a sparkling water with little fruit juice from Coca-Cola, into second place.
Adelholzener is a fairly medium-sized producer, and the fact that it managed to beat such a large organisation is truly remarkable. Although Active Fresh has had a strong start in Germany, all of the focus has been on the domestic market, largely because the export trade is taken up with the last major product that was launched by the company: the oxygenated mineral water, Active 02. This has made up the biggest part of overseas sales in recent times and has bolstered the already established operations in countries across the world. The aim for the next few years is to increase the market standing of 02 in the markets where it has been introduced already, using a series of TV and cinema advertisements, whilst at the same time promoting the new Active Fresh in the German market.
Of the 15 markets that the company operates in outside of Germany, one of the most interesting has been Japan. "In Japan we have launched Active 02, under the name of Oxygen 02," explains Stefan. "We launched that two years ago and it actually sparked the oxygenated water sector in the country. We have seen a great deal of success there, in convenience stores, coffee shops and some of the major retail outlets. Originally it was only our water products, which already had a small market in Japan, but a few months ago we launched the flavoured products, and so far they have had a very encouraging response. This is a market area that hasn't really existed in Japan before this, and therefore we are the only producer catering to this sector. This has very quickly become a strong and fast growing part of our export business, and will be a key focus for the coming years."
The Japanese market has taken on a large scale, with 30 containers going there in April to meet the growing demand, and is a figurehead for the expanding export markets. As well as looking at other Asian markets, including a test in Korea, the company is hoping to secure a strong position in each of its export markets. In order to support the rapid growth that the company is experiencing at the moment there is continuous expansion at the plant to add new capacity. In 2007 there is a plan to add a one-way filling line for the extra products that Adelholzener Alpenquellen is
offering. "That will probably cost about 20 million euros, but won't be the full investment budget for the year," says Stefan. "This will allow us to produce our one-way items in a very effective manner and to meet the price pressures that have become increasingly relevant in the last few years. We need to make sure that we have the leading position in terms of price, and therefore in cost as well. The new equipment will maximise the output whilst keeping the cost that it will take to run it at a low level, and therefore give us an edge."
The company has been experiencing a period of success in recent times, and is looking to make all the investments necessary to continue this expansion into the future. As new Adelholzener Alpenquellen products appear on the market there will be a concerted effort by the company to make them just as popular, throughout national and international markets, as the existing items.