Spritzer makes a breakthrough when it launches the silica-rich ACILIS water bottled in the UK
by SHAZNI ONG/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
WHEN the late Michael Jackson came to Kuala Lumpur to perform in 1996, there were rumours that crates of Evian water had to be transported to the hotel where he stayed in so that he could have his perfect bath.
No one could actually confirm that bit of gossip, but it is a known fact that many luxury hotels and spas around the world do have Evian bath as part of the package for the well-heeled and those who don’t seem to know what to do with their money.
For instance, a certain fancy resort in Miami Beach would prepare you the Evian bath that you need at US$5,000 (RM21,050) a pop! No one could also confirm for certain that it would make your skin more radiant, but this is for sure, a bottle of Evian is not for us, the ordinary people.
Of course, there are other international brands that would make the more discerning (if not pretentious) happy like Perrier, San Pellegrino, San Benedetto or Aqua Panna, but for mere mortals like us, an economy-size bottle of Spritzer of the rack of 7-Eleven would suffice.
Well, why bother quenching your thirst with spring water that is imported from Europe when you can just enjoy the same with our very own mineral water that is sourced from Taiping, Perak?
Really, mineral water business is certainly huge and many local brands are making good profit from an element that used to be just one of those basic necessities.
In Malaysia, plain water used to be free when you had a meal in a restaurant. In the 70s, those who did not want to sound cheap would order “sky juice” from the waiter, instead of “air suam” or “ais kosong”.
Well, nothing is free these days, and bottled mineral or distilled water is now part of our daily lives as the society gets more paranoid about environmental issues and pollution.
If you visit other Asian countries like Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, you may be told frequently to drink from the bottle instead of getting your water straight from the tap.
As for Malaysia, with the increasing number of reports on pollution and contamination at the local rivers and treatment facilities, more people would choose the safer option of buying bottled drinks.
As it is, the business of selling drinkable water to consumers is worth billions globally.
For marketers, it is a dream, especially when we have been told repeatedly that we need to drink more water.
That Important Element
Any health expert will tell you that water is one of the key essentials in life, towards sustaining the survivability of the human body. Without it, a person could die due to dehydration. A person can live for about 45 to 65 days without food, but only about nine to 10 days without water.
On average, 60% to 70% of an adult’s body weight is made up of water, while approximately 70% to 75% of the muscle is made up of water. Hence, maintaining the right water balance is essential for optimum muscle function.
A person must consume around 2.5 litres to three litres of water daily from all possible sources — drinking and eating — in order to stay hydrated and maintain health. According to the World Health Organisation, up to two litres a day is considered advisable for an average person.
Mineral Water, Anyone?
Bottled water is definitely the top pick these days for the convenience it serves. Apparently, mineral and drinking water also offer different benefits.
Drinking water is packaged sealed water that is safe and clean for human consumption.
However, it is also chemically treated to eliminate microbial hazard, most of the time with chlorination. It may not contain sufficient minerals.
Mineral water, on the other hand, is bottled water that contains minerals or other dissolved substances obtained from naturally occurring springs, like lakes, rivers or wells — places where rich minerals are available.
As the marketers would tell you, mineral water is a good source of nutrients to provide the body with extra benefits.
As mineral water undergoes many processes, the price becomes slightly higher than the plain drinking water. Approximately over 3,000 varieties of bottled mineral water are sold worldwide. In Malaysia, among the most common brands are Alla Fonte, Bleu, Cactus and Spritzer, as well as generic brands packaged by grocery supermarkets such as Tesco, Giant and Aeon Topvalu.
The Spritzer Story
For the uninitiated, humans can only use about three-tenths of a percent of all the water sources available on Earth.
Such usable water is found in groundwater aquifers, rivers and freshwater lakes.
Located far away from pollution, untouched by human hands, and encompassed within 330 acres (133.55ha) of lush greenery of the country’s 200 million-year-old natural tropical rainforests, lies a great mother nature’s hidden gem.
From an aquifer, some 420ft deep underground below, the water is then manufactured and packed into a bottle to be drunk by the millions every day, especially during the hot and sunny days.
This is where the origins of the silicon-rich natural mineral water is extracted, which is known as Spritzer water today, and through the rich in mineral content, Malaysians are rest assured that they are drinking “the best, safest and purest natural mineral water available to them”.
Spritzer Bhd, Malaysia’s largest bottled water producer by capacity and local market share (40%), has come a long way and grown from strength to strength to be where the company is today.
This year marks the celebration of its 30th anniversary since its establishment.
Proudly Malaysian, Spritzer is the pioneer in the bottled water industry. In fact, in 2000, it was the first natural mineral water company listed in Bursa Malaysia.
The company has grown from a local brand selling domestically to reaching out to the global market in recent years.
What started as a small set-up in Tupai Industrial Estate in 1989, and later relocated to the present 330-acre present facility, the company has remained steadfast and grown into a multi- million ringgit business.
“Our first breakthrough came in 2017 when we launched the silica-rich ACILIS water bottled in the UK. And now, the Netherlands has also started marketing it,” Spritzer research and development director Dr Chuah Chaw Teo (picture) said in an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Reserve at the company’s water factory in Shah Alam recently.
While the Sino-US trade war dispute continues triggering uncertainties in the global market which has led to a weakening consumer sentiment, Chuah said there is still a strong demand for natural mineral water on the global stage.
Spritzer has so far established its presence in China and Hong Kong. The company also exports its products to other countries including Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand.
“South Africa has also recently started showing interest and so does Spain. In fact, we are now submitting to the US Food and Drug Administration for a registration with the hope to enter the US market soon,” he added.
As such, Chuah is pretty sure that the bottled water industry will remain a fast-growing business, locally, regionally and globally.
From a health perspective, Spritzer is also the first natural mineral water company to be validated by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and EBioMedicine for its health-giving properties through daily drinking of its silicon-rich natural mineral water.
Based on clinical trials conducted in the UK, drinking one to 1.5 litres of Spritzer’s silicon-rich water every day has been effective in removing the neurotoxin — aluminium — from the body.
According to Prof Christopher Exley from Keele University in the UK, Spritzer water, which is clinically proven to be silicon-rich natural mineral water, can reduce the aluminium levels in our body — a metal that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
For Chuah, such an acknowledgment has led to the surge in export demands following many inquiries from abroad with many wanting to represent the Spritzer brand in their respective countries.
“This is mostly due to the awareness brought by Spritzer as being naturally enriched with a therapeutic amount of a very important trace element called orthosilicic acid, which is a soluble silicon that the body can absorb,” Dr Chuah said.
Research has also shown that silicon can stimulate an enzyme that can naturally synthesise collagen naturally in the body and is beneficial in moisturising the skin, building bone, improving blood circulation and boosting the joints health.
Moving forward, he said Spritzer is now open for any opportunities, domestically or abroad. The company now has an annual production capacity of over 700 million litres.
The group has also diversified into selling distilled drinking water, flavoured drinks, and function drinks in addition to natural mineral water in the last three decades.
Chuah said as a bottled water player in the current challenging operating environment, it must remain relevant, especially in the fastmoving technological era, particularly the Industry 4.0.
In a move towards embracing the Industry 4.0, Spritzer has invested over RM50 million on a fully automated warehouse project which integrates mobile robots to retrieve and store its bottled water.
The project is expected to be completed early next year to cater for the higher projection of production and sales volume.
Spritzer’s new fully automated high-speed production line at the main plant in Taiping has also begun production for the new packaging sizes of 250ml and 300ml.
Its Shah Alam plant, which was established in 2010, is also set to expand in capacity for its reverse-osmosis production.
The Taiping facility is located in one of the oldest settlements in Malaysia, a town also known to be the wettest in Peninsular Malaysia.
Part of Spritzer’s efforts to inculcate in the public the importance of nature and its environment is through Spritzer Eco Park, which was opened in 2015.
The recreational park is open to the public and allows visitors to relax and appreciate the available surroundings and serenity of what mother nature has to offer through the natural flora and fauna.
Besides having an 18-hole mini golf course, visitors can also take a tour of the production facility to see how natural mineral water is bottled.
“Spritzer will also instal solar panels to supply power for its polyethylene terephthalate plant in Ipoh and the mineral water production plant in Taiping,” added Chuah.
Well, it pays to be kind to nature, it seems…