The fine difference between mineral waters lies in their degree of mineralization. As opposed to springs with low percentages of minerals, Bad Meinberger is in a comfortable position as its mineral water not only has a balanced mineral content but also an extremely pleasant taste. The calcium and magnesium content is well balanced and guarantees pure enjoyment of the product while being beneficial to the drinker’s health.
As a regional supplier to retailers located between the German federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and the north of Hesse, Bad Meinberger looks back on a long history – and not without a modicum of pride. “Since 1767” proclaims the brand logo: this marks the year when Meinberg was made a Bad or spa and the town began to earn its reputation as a Gesundbrunnen or ‘fountain of health’. Bad Meinberger now offers its consumers three varieties from its fountain: Classic, Medium and Naturelle which, unlike products by other mineral water bottlers, all come from the same spring and are available in returnable glass and PET bottles. The range is embellished by a number of soft drinks: soda pop, spritzers and an isotonic sports drink.
“Clarity is truth”
Despite this richness of tradition the company is well aware of the fact that the history of its water alone is not enough to prove successful among consumers; it’s the product design which makes the difference in the age of contemporary marketing. Marketing boss Stefan Brüggemann explains. “In keeping with the current zeitgeist LOHAS consumers are always on the lookout for pure and natural products.” LOHAS stands for “Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability”; this term characterizes the group of consumers who assess and select attractive products primarily for their health benefits and sustainability. “Clarity is truth. As a result, the trend is moving away from heavily carbonated mineral water and towards water which is only slightly or not at all carbonated and the good old glass bottle is experiencing a comeback,” Brüggemann ascertains. This is not only true of retail but also particularly of the hospitality trade, an area of business which Bad Meinberger is increasingly betting on at the moment. The development of a new product dressing with a stylish, puristic design, which clearly communicates the naturalness and premium quality of the brand, is Bad Meinberger’s answer to the exacting demands of modern restaurant clientèle.
The innovations which are applied to the company’s brand policy must of course be mirrored in production. This is where the course is set to meet the change in demand. In March 2015 Bad Meinberger thus made one of the largest single investments in its 250-year history as a family business and invested two million euros in one of its production lines. Part of this went into a new bottle washing system which can wash up to 40,000 glass bottles an hour and makes considerable savings in water, electricity and heat in the process.
Sustainability and environmental protection
With its investment the family-run company has also prepared itself for the increasing demand for glass bottles and acted according to its philosophy. “With our mineral water we’re taking something precious away from Nature. This is why we always ask ourselves what we’re going to give back. For this reason, sustainability and the best possible protection of the environment have become maxims dictating how we act,” explains Brüggemann. With optimized water and heat management and an integrated natural gas heating system the new bottle washer saves about 60% of water and 50% in energy compared to its predecessor from 1988. Bad Meinberger has also given itself a lot more flexibility in investing in ultramodern technology. The machine processes glass bottles holding from 0.2 to 1 liters.
KHS was not awarded the contract for the line on the basis of Bad Meinberger’s demand for quality alone, however – which is incidentally also reflected in the selection of the supplier on all levels. “It’s of course pure luck that we have such a big global player right on our doorstep,” smiles Stefan Brüggemann, pleased at his proximity to KHS – and not just in relation to the geographical distance. “It’s a huge challenge to install a system that’s over 14 meters long, more than 6 meters wide and weighs around 60 metric tons but it all went smoothly from start to finish. This can only work when everything’s been perfectly organized and the chemistry’s right.” You need a little bit more than that; the new machine had to be maneuvered into the plant’s production shop through a specially made opening in the roof by a 500-ton crane where it was received by a team of eight installation engineers and set up in a very short time indeed.
The machine replacement was also an impressive logistical feat; prior to the arrival of the new equipment the storage areas had to be expanded and the warehouse inventories increased in multi-shift operation so that the two-and-a-half weeks between shutting down the old line and commissioning the new one could be bridged without any shortages. “This all had to be very well planned but we managed it with the utmost precision,” says Brüggemann, satisfied with both the process and result of the company’s changeover to the new plant engineering.
Further investments foreseeable
As large as the investment in the new machine may be, it represents only part of the concept Bad Meinberger is pursuing in the course of optimizing its energy consumption. This includes various measures already taken to boost the company’s energy efficiency and create a constantly pleasant climate throughout the production area, to improve the building management system with a central control unit for heating and ventilation and to further improve how the various machines communicate with one another. A number of additional investments have also already been agreed upon, with extensive conversions planned for production and administration in 2015. The fountain of health at Bad Meinberger just keeps on flowing.