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Melitta – the ­coffee specialists


There are brands in German industrial history whose names have been anchored in people’s minds for decades to such an extent that the brand and product category merge into one. That’s certainly the case with Melitta and the coffee filter.

It all began in 1908 when a simple idea in Dresden revolutionised the enjoyment of coffee. Because Melitta Bentz was bothered by the bitter taste of her coffee she perforated a brass beaker, inserted blotting paper from her son’s school book and let the coffee seep through. The world’s first coffee filter was born and laid the foundation for the Melitta brand. Melitta Bentz and her husband Hugo Bentz made the increasingly sought-after filters with a growing number of employees. What began as a small business – today it would probably be called a start-up or garage company – was put on a broader industrial footing in 1929 with the move to Minden, the current location of the company’s headquarters. In 1937, Melitta introduced the characteristic, pointed coffee filter and the sandwich paper in Germany – the basis for later business with household foils. The typical Melitta logo was also created at that time. Products for the hotel trade were also launched. In the 1960s, vacuum-packed ground coffee, one of the first electric filter coffee machines and various other products were successfully established – notably the stoneware and porcelain services still popular among collectors today. One of the classics from that era, the Utah Teapot, even made it into The Simpsons and Toy Story.

Additional lines of business

From small beginnings there is now a group of companies with around 5,200 employees and locations throughout the world. In 1988, five business areas with independent brands were established: Melitta, Toppits, Swirl, Cilia and Aclimat – names that are familiar to most consumers. Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions also serves the professional market with a range of products, including coffee machines designed for use in commercial environments such as hotels, cafes, bakeries and the catering segment.

There are also subsidiaries for individual business sectors. ­Cofresco, for example, is responsible for the development and production of foil and paper for the domestic and catering markets – with well-known household brands such as Toppits, Albal, Bacofoil, Handy Bag and Swirl, as well as Wrapmaster and Caterwrap for the catering sector.

The company is working intensively on sustainable packaging materials and ways to increase the proportion of recycled materials in its film-based products. The Cofresco Forum provides an opportunity for decision-makers from the packaging industry to exchange ideas with scientists and access the latest findings from research and practice.

Wolf PVG manufactures Swirl vacuum cleaner bags and a variety of household products, and has developed the Supercharged Meltblow process, an innovative high-tech method for significantly increasing the filter performance of vacuum cleaner bags.

Innovation is a must

Nothing is as old as yesterday’s success, and standing still represents a serious business risk. That’s true of any modern company anywhere in the world. In addition to further developing its existing product range, Melitta has taken steps in recent years to promote a culture of innovation within the group of companies. In 2018, central innovation management was strengthened and 10X Innovation GmbH & Co. KG was founded. The purpose of the multidisciplinary department, together with the Corporate Innovation Team, is to identify trends and market developments at an early stage and develop new business areas and market categories for the Melitta Group – from the first prototype through to consumer testing and full marketing.

Among the latest products that the team has brought to market are ffeel, the first coffee lemonade with superfruits, and wkup, a coffee shot as a pick-me-up with a concentrated dose of caffeine. Both new products received the 2018 German Innovation Award.

Melitta is responding to the burgeoning trend towards slowing down the pace of life with the renaissance of the original coffee filtration system. In bars and cafés and also at home, there is a growing need for coffee prepared with a healthy amount of TLC. As the inventor of the coffee filter, Melitta supports this trend with a comprehensive pour-over range.

“Change is becoming more and more commonplace,” says Jero Bentz who, as a member of the managing board and a personally liable partner, manages the family concern as a fourth-generation member of the family, “To cope with a constantly changing environment we need an appropriate culture. We want to derive more enjoyment from this process of change and from the future. Promoting this attitude is one of the most important projects of our Group in the coming years.”

The daily coffee ritual

More and more coffee lovers want to make coffee to suit their own individual taste and consciously enjoy it. At the same time, everyday life for many people seems to be more and stressful and hectic. The trend towards the pour-over way of making coffee runs counter to this. It’s all about taking your time to enjoy high-quality coffee in a relaxed state of mind.

The new premium product range from Melitta® with the two innovative pour-over systems Melitta® AMANO and Melitta® EPOS® is right on trend for making coffee the way you like to prepare it and the way you like it to taste.

The range is complemented by two coffees roasted especially for pour-over preparation from 100% Fair Trade Arabica beans, called Melitta® BLOOM®, as well as specially developed Melitta® pour-over coffee filters with a new paper recipe.

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Current issue: Ambiente 2020

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