Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

A wave of innovation

How Henri Nestlé’s water took the world by storm
A wave of innovation
Reading Time:
Before Henri Nestlé went on to establish what would become the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, he manufactured—you guessed it—water.

In 2016, Nestlé celebrates 150 years of innovation and quality, fulfilling the ideals of the company's founder, Henri Nestlé, a visionary entrepreneur devoted to science-based products. The German-born Nestlé began his career as a pharmacist's assistant and went on to establish what would become the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness Company. But did you know that before creating the “Farine Lactée” – that made him a household name throughout the world – Henri Nestlé manufactured water and lemonade?

First involvements for hydration and nutrition

In 1843, he purchased a business situated on Switzerland's Monneresse Canal, where for centuries mills had operated on water power generated by the wild Veveyse River…

Henri Nestlé immediately recognized the benefits of this natural water source and began to manufacture and sell still and carbonated water, as well as “fizzy” lemonade. Ever the curious scientist, analyzed and experimented with the enrichment of water with a variety of minerals, always with a singular goal: to provide healthy, accessible and delicious refreshment.

His “Farine Lactée” or “Milk Food” was used as a nutritious alternative for infants who couldn’t be breastfed. The instant success of this invention spread by word of mouth as mothers shared true stories of babies thriving on the easily-prepared mixture. At a time of terrible infant mortality, Henri Nestlé's painstaking research and development resulted in a product that bettered the lives of countless families.

Making fresh water available since day one

Water remained a priority for Nestlé even after his production turned entirely to the infant cereal. In 1878, Henri Nestlé financed a large public fountain in the Swiss village of Glion, where he had bought a residence to enjoy in retirement. The fountain was bringing pure spring water to the mountain town. He knew that making water available was the key to the village's growth, and the future of its townspeople. That fountain still stands today, just like Nestlé Water's commitment to quality in all its products.

Workers from the Compagnie de la Source Perrier in 1906
Workers from the Compagnie de la Source Perrier in 1906

That heritage is clear in the 52 water brands we owned. For instance, San Pellegrino, which is bottled since 1899 and internationally renowned for its Italian elegance; Perrier, whose effervescent bubbles have offered refreshment with panache for over 150 years now and Nestlé Pure Life, which is drunk in more than 40 countries and has been recognized as the world’s most popular bottled water. Water has been an essential part of Nestlé's portfolio of trusted products since the very beginning. Henri Nestlé, who devoted his life to supplying people with nutritious solutions, was the original believer in healthy hydration.

Learn more about Nestlé Waters’ story on Pinterest.