The researchers from Worldwatch institute have found out that the consumption of bottled water has gone up to approximately 40% (Wait, 2008).There have been various reasons for this consumption such as, climatic change, raised living standard and population growth etc. According to Saleem, particularly, in Middle East, the consumption of bottled water from 2003 to 2008 has become double (Wait, 2008).
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Masafi Company: The establishment of Masafi Company happened in 1976 and now it is a leading company having a strong distribution network globally (Masafi, n.d.). The mineral water is natural which is collected from the mountains of Ras Al Khaima (Masafi Marketing Audit Presentation, 2012).
The rich underground springs of Masafi are the resources for this superior quality bottled water. The company’s use of Poly Ethylene Terephatalate (PET) for packaging can be observed as company’s commitment for the conservation of the environment. The PET bottling plant that has a capacity of producing 34,000 bottles in an hour is well equipped with the advance technology (Masafi: The Leading Producer of the Bottled Mineral Water in the Gulf, n. d.).
Al Ain Mineral Water Company: Masafi’s big competitor is Al Ain Mineral Water Company. In the local UAE market it is the great challenge for Masafi. Al Ain Mineral Water Company has met the standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration. It has been awarded HAACP certificate in 2002.
This company started in the year 1990. Its plant is located in Al Ain city where underground springs of natural, pure, mineral water are in abundance (Field, 2007).
Agthia, the owner of the brand Al Ain Mineral Water has expanded its distribution channels to enhance the growth of their bottled water business. The chief executive of the group, Ilias Assimakopoulos says, “We believe that the water business has quite a growth movement in the UAE, especially in the Northern Emirates, which is the key growth opportunity for us” (Duncan, 2012 Para 4).
The brand name ‘Al Ain’ is popular in the markets of UAE for the fine quality of its pure and natural water that is collected from the untouched Al Ain springs. Al Ain water is primarily sold in the UAE markets and only a small percentage is exported to the adjoining GCC markets (Field, 2007).
The Al Ain Water laboratory use up-to-date equipment for testing water and packaging material to certify the good quality of the product (Al Ain, n.d.).
Comparison: The quality of water is analyzed on the basis of minerals present in it. Also, it is important to check the quality of the plastic of the bottles used for packaging and observe if no chemicals are used for the cleaning of the bottles when they go on the water dispenser (Drinking Water, 2013).
The following picture is the chemical analysis of bottled water brands in the UAE:
Source: FooDiva, 2011
As per the norms NHS has set some standards of using Sodium which should be less than 200 mg per liter and sulphate should not be present more than 250 mg per liter.
Al Ain water has 8mg per liter sodium and 5 mg sulphate present in the bottled water. Masafi has 10mg/liter sodium and 19mg/liter sulphate in its bottled water (Drinking Water, 2013).
Manufacturing of Masafi and Al Ain Water:
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The resource of Masafi water is the mountain and this is why the water is rich in minerals. The water is collected through many pipes and funnels which are connected to the bottling plant. This plant is generally situated in the nearby area. With the help of the pipes the water is collected and then it is pumped out for filtration.
The water resource and production manager, Pankag Naik describes the procedure that a firmly controlled filtering system carries water through the filters and 0.03-micro-filters in a cooled state. During this final inspection, if something goes wrong, the alarms go off and the procedure is stopped by shutting down the plant. For making the bottles, a small bottle is made first with a little white ball and then it is heated to make it 8cm long.
The next step is to fill the bottles, which is done by fixing the bottles on a conveyer belt with their necks dangling and passed to the the other room where the process of filling water in the bottles takes place. Water is filled into the bottles with high-pressure jet. A 500 ml bottle is filled within 3 seconds. The whole procedure takes place automatically. People are there only to supervise the work. The production is higher during the summer season because of the increased demand of water (Harnan, 2010).
Source: Masafi presentation for Central Europe, 2010, p.22
Source: Masafi presentation for Central Europe, 2010, p.22
The process of making mineral water is different for Al Ain Water Company. The stainless pipes are used for carrying water. Through these pipes the water is carried from the natural springs to the tanks. The tanks are totally made for water storage. Water is taken directly from the source and pumped to the bottling facility. It reduces the risks of contamination that is normally caused during handling and transportation procedure.
Here, bottles and cups are molded by heating PET and then transferred on conveyor belts to get rinsed and filled. Thereafter, these bottles are capped and labeled. The bottles and cups are packed in cartons and stored in the warehouse.
To promote bulk buying and provide convenient handling, Al Ain Water has recently started using plastic shrink-wrapping for sets of bottles (Emirates food stuff and mineral water company, n.d.)
Source: Emirates foodstuff and mineral water company, n.d. p.19
Production Line and designing of Masafi and Al Ain water: Masafi has earned its name as brand for packaged mineral water. FMCG industry Masafi has been working for 35 years and has volunteered into the field of flavoured water, chips, tissues and rice. Company’s focus on distinctiveness and superior business quality and the idea to deliver better quality products and meet the global quality standards has made it popular in the region (Masafi, n.d.).
The PET bottles are used for designing and packaging of Masafi mineral water. They are made of plastic but actually the plastic element is 23 percent less in making these bottles. This bottled water is safe and healthy (Masafi Marketing Audit Presentation, 2012).
A new technology has been introduced by the name of oxo-biodegradable technology. In this technology a little amount of metal salts are added to plastics to accelerate the degradation of the plastic in explicit environmental situations (Lukwaro, 2010).
Oxo-Biodegradable Shrink Wrap: this shrink wrap is environmental friendly and it is the first of its kind introduced by Masafi in this industry.
Source: Masafi presentation for Central Europe, 2010, (p.32)
When Al Ain Water started its commercial production with only one bottle line but at present it produces eight different sizes of bottled water products and water cups. The company is provided with ISO 9001 certification. It also produces PET bottle pre-forms for other bottling companies and ice blocks.
Source: Al Ain bottled water, n.d. Para 4
There are two types of formats of 330 ml glass bottle which is offered by Al Ain Water Company: still and sparkling. This exclusive bottle is available in eight designs. Al Ain Water Company has also introduced 5-gallon pack for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain region as per the demands of the local people.
Quality control of Masafi and Al Ain Company: Masafi is very keen in improving its quality control. For which it conducts its internal auditing. It also conducts customers’ survey program to get their feedback.
Al Ain Water Company is also adamant to follow the standards for quality control. The inspection of the water wells takes place periodically to check contamination. Besides the internal quality control procedure, Al Ain Water gets the quality check done by its guarantor, Vittel of France (Owned by Nestle Waters) once in a month.
Though Masafi has secured the top most company place among the bottled mineral water companies all over the UAE, yet AL Ain Water Company seems to be a great challenge for Masafi by showing a speedy growth. It has become in a dominant position especially in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain regions.
Al Ain bottled water. Web.
Drinking Water 2013. Web.
Duncan, Gillian, Profits flow for Agthia with bottled water rise. 2012. Web.
Emirates foodstuff and mineral water company. Web.
Field, Roger, Water producer taps brand potential. 2007. Web.
Foo Diva 2011. Web.
Harnan, Eugine, “Masafi from the source to market.” The National. 2010. Web.
Lukwaro, Gureni, “Masafi introduces plastic that degrades in two years.” The National. 2010. Web.
Masafi Marketing Audit Presentation 2012. Web.
Masafi: The Leading Producer of the Bottled Mineral Water in the Gulf. Web.
Masafi presentation for Central Europe 2010. Web.
Wait, Isaac 2008, Changing Perceptions: Water Quality and Demand in the United Arab Emirates. Web.