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Ghadeer’s recent rebranding and factory expansion prove just how competitive Jordan’s bottled water market is becoming.
Founded in 1982, Ghadeer Mineral Water Company today controls a big chunk of Jordan’s bottled water business. The company, which was acquired by Swiss nutrition giant Nestlé in 2003, recently set about a major rebranding exercise and expanded its factory in the southern town of Husseinieh. Ghadeer General Manager Rasem Dabbas says these steps were vital for his company to maintain its dominant position in an increasingly crowded market.
What were you aiming to achieve with your rebranding of Ghadeer?
As one of the first Jordanian water brands, consumers were familiar with Ghadeer. However, as more and more companies began to crowd the market, consumers began having trouble distinguishing between all these different brands. Three years ago, we began a process of looking into what we needed to maintain Ghadeer’s position as a leader in the market. We felt that Ghadeer had to both differentiate itself and maintain its relevance among the Jordanian people.
The research and focus groups we conducted showed that while Ghadeer was a leading brand, consumers wanted us to further modernize it. The majority of the Jordanian population is under the age of 30, so they are exposed to a lot of modern branding, and Ghadeer previously had this very traditional, classic Petra logo. While we’re proud to be a Jordanian brand, our studies showed that consumers felt Petra didn’t seem very relevant to water; they wanted something more modern, yet still locally relevant.
This led us to replace the Petra icon with the more modern, relevant black iris, the Jordanian national flower, which relies on hydration to grow and develop. We also updated our slogan, from “The Natural Taste of Jordan” to “Revitalizing the Future.” With this modern, on-the-go image, the rebranding went into activation in January, accompanied by the launch of a sporty, 700-milliliter bottle. Together, these elements capture a Jordanian spirit focused on continuous progress and evolution.
You are currently expanding your Ghadeer factory in Husseinieh. What new technologies are you using?
Ghadeer’s factory, which houses the water source, recently underwent a huge expansion. This has been a huge success story for the south of Jordan, as it’s an area that doesn’t usually receive much attention in terms of investments. We now have the most technologically advanced equipment on the market, including technology that reduces energy consumption by 15 to 20 percent. We also upgraded the water pumping system at our facility to make sure we conserve as much water as we can and there’s no wastage.
With regard to environmental efforts, we acquired 100 donums of new land around the factory to preserve and protect the source from outside contaminants. Additionally, our new bottles use 20 percent less plastic than any other bottle on the market. By using a premium PET Preform plastic, the bottles have the same rigidity, so we didn’t compromise on the quality.
With so much competition in the market, how do you differentiate yourself?
There are more than 20 brands in the market, but a large portion of them are what we call commodities, lacking any real brand equity. What these companies provide is just filtered water that is packaged and sold at an affordable price. By contrast, Ghadeer is a high quality natural mineral water, not filtered water; many consumers are unaware of the difference between the two. Ghadeer comes from a stable, renewable source in the heart of the Jordanian desert, beneath the Sharah Mountains. It was because of the quality of this source that, after scanning the entire water map of Jordan, Nestlé chose to partner with Ghadeer. This water has a great mineral composition that provides many benefits for the body.
What are your water filtering and hygiene procedures?
As a natural mineral water, Ghadeer water has the same mineral composition as the water found at the source. Water from the source undergoes a filtration process to remove the sand and sediment and purify the water, while preserving its natural mineral composition. We also conduct ozone purification to ensure the water is of the highest quality when it reaches the bottle.
As a Nestlé brand, our quality assurance standards are the most rigorous in the industry, going above and beyond local and international standards. Water samples are taken from the well on an hourly basis for chemical and microbiological testing, with a total of more than 500 tests conducted each week. We also send samples to our Nestlé labs in Italy and France on a regular basis for additional testing.
Your company represents two water brands, Ghadeer and Nestlé Pure Life. How do you manage the competition between the two?
Ghadeer and Nestlé Pure Life together comprise 36 to 37 percent of the local water market. However, these are two different brands and products, each positioned to target different consumers. Nestlé Pure Life is purified bottled water that targets homes and families. Ghadeer, on the other hand, is a natural mineral water that targets young adults on the go; it is catered to out-of-home consumption. To support this positioning, during the rebranding we launched a sporty 700-milliliter bottle.
What challenges do you face in the Jordanian market?
One of the challenges is that Jordan has a small bottled water market glutted with too many players. With few barriers to entry and lax regulations, the filter shops have crowded out the market and are now very difficult to monitor. There is a need for greater regulation of these shops, and a need to set and enforce safety standards.
In a country with a lot of inflation, where disposable income is becoming more and more limited, bottled water starts to become a luxury for families. At Ghadeer, we aren’t trying to compete with tap water; we offer a healthy, quality product in a package. It’s important for consumers to understand the difference between filtered water you get at a filter shop and a natural mineral water that’s bottled at the source.
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