Nestlé and water

Company founder dealt in water as early as 1843

In 1843, Henri Nestlé – pioneer of milk powder for babies – set up a water factory in Vevey on Lake Geneva. From piped water he created and commercialized “mineral water”, selling his product to local restaurants. Later in life he purchased a retirement residence in nearby Glion, where he also acquired water rights. He used the water for his home and extensive gardens, donating the rest to the local population.


Nestlé on a shopping spree – from Vittel to Perrier and San Pellegrino

tl_files/images/business/bl_supermarket_1.jpgIn 1969 Nestlé acquired a holding in the French company, Société Générale des Eaux Minérales de Vittel. That was the company's entry into the world of water. And bottled water in particular.

In 1976 world market leader Perrier (then a French company with tradition) entered the US market. Nestlé took over distribution of Perrier's popular teardrop-shaped bottles – and watched and wondered as the Perrier product quickly made its mark on young urban America.

Bottled water soon became an attractive alternative to sweetened soft drinks such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. It was thirst-quenching, calorie-free and in keeping with the trend towards more healthy nutrition. The bottled water industry expanded, sales were soon soaring.

In 1989 Nestlé Chairman Helmut Maucher and Head of Marketing Peter Brabeck decided to make bottled water production a priority, with the aim of becoming world leader. Nestlé launched a takeover bid for Perrier and after a bitter battle won control of the French company. With the acquisition of Perrier, many regional brands in the USA – among them popular Poland Spring – also came under the control of Nestlé.

LINK Nestlé Waters North America


As with Perrier, Nestlé also swallowed up the Italian San Pellegrino brand in 1997.

LINK Nestlé Waters


One water for the whole world – Pure Life

tl_files/images/business/bl_purlife_machine.jpgVittel, Perrier and San Pellegrino are mineral waters which come from a single specific source.

Poland Spring and other regional US brands are described by Nestlé as natural spring water. These waters come from different sources which are often a long distance from each other.

Mineral and natural spring waters are targeted mainly at consumers with higher purchasing power or (in developed countries) at a broad middle class.

In 1997 Nestlé started to develop a new product created from purified ground water enriched with a new special mix of minerals. The advantage of this water is that it can be produced worldwide with the same taste. The name – Nestlé Pure Life. With this product Nestlé began targeting a vast new market, namely consumers in developing countries. Today, Pure Life is the top selling bottled water on the planet.