The Maggi condiment over the years. The dark bottle with the red and gold design remains unique until today. (Image: Nestlé)
125 years of Maggi in Germany
In almost 30 million homes in Germany, at least once a year someone reaches for a product with the unmistakable brand logo in red and gold. Whether stock cubes or powdered stock, ready meals like ravioli or helpful seasonings for cooking, like the "Fix" product line: most people will have held a Maggi product in their hand already. This year sees the 125th anniversary of the products in Germany, and their range has kept steadily growing. Regarding their packaging design, the Swiss have remained true to their beginnings for their entire company history, following the motto: never change a winning team. This traditional brand offers convincing proof that packaging can be much more than a mere protective shell for a product.
It all started with a young Swiss gentleman called Julius Maggi, an inventor in search of tasty solutions to the problems of his time. And in the year 1882, the most urgent one was human malnutrition caused by the effects of industrialisation. Young Maggi set out to find a nutritious and tasty solution and recognised the potential of legumes. In 1883 he marketed the first powdered peas and beans, and already in 1885 the first powdered soup followed. Thus began the launch of what today is the Maggi brand's broad range of products.
Founder Julius Maggi started out by selling powdered legumes. (Image: Nestlé)
Experiments in taste and public appeal
If there is one product by Maggi that everyone knows, it’s probably the Maggi liquid condiment. It became part of the product range in 1886 and from 1887 was bottled in Singen, Germany. After the site had been expanded by another plant, the condiment was also produced in Singen from 1899 onwards. A year later, there were 450 employees working on producing and bottling the tasty flavour.
At the Maggi factory in Singen in 1910, women workers are packaging the popular Maggi condiment. (Image: Nestlé)
Julius Maggi liked experimenting, and for example used curry or added truffle aroma to the Maggi condiment. But he also tried out many different approaches to advertising his products. He not only recognised that there was a market for quick and tasty meals, he also recognised the importance of creating a brand identity and appealing advertising to go along with it. Maggi developed a unique brand logo and used enamel signs, the outside walls of grocery stores and campaigns on vehicles to market his products.
Julius Maggi realised it was possible to create a strong brand identity using targeted advertising. Advertising sign around 1920. (Image: Nestlé)
Tastes good and looks good
Since 1947, Maggi has been a subsidiary of Nestlé Germany AG and has continued to refine their products. Today, this mostly means using natural ingredients and reducing any negative impact on the environment. Packaging plays an important part in this. The company aims to use less material and improve the packaging's ability to be recycled. In the best case, packaging is to be made from a mono-material and reintroduced to the material cycle after being disposed of by the consumer.
Maggi is also set to forgo aluminium and composite multilayer films made of plastics. To celebrate the anniversary, Maggi "Für Genießer" ("For gourmets") soups and Maggi "Guten Appetit" ("Enjoy your meal") soups appear in a new packaging. This no longer uses multilayer films, but instead mono-material. In 2023, the Maggi "Fix" products will also appear in a newly designed bag.
To celebrate the anniversary, some soups appear in new packaging. (Image: Nestlé)
The packaging of the well-known Maggi condiment was also improved over the years. The design of the bottle remained the same, but its weight has been reduced. This means less carbon emissions from transport, and half of the shrink wrap for packing the finished pallets is made of recycled materials.