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More than a just a brand

A children's club sprung up around Ovaltine in Britain (Ovaltineys)

Ovomaltine started life in 1865 as a product to combat malnutrition. It was later to conquer the hearts of generations of children.

In Britain, the brand was so popular that a club of Ovaltineys was set up, with an accompanying radio programme.

To this day, many British believe that Ovaltine is one of their own national products.

The story of Ovomaltine has been described as "one of the most exciting episodes" in the Swiss national economy.

Produced by the Bern-based Wander company, "Ovo" as its affectionately known, started life in 1865 in a small laboratory in the old town.

Pharmacist George Wander was carrying out research for a product to combat the widespread malnutrition of the day.

As a basis for his research work, he chose a natural product - malt - and succeeded in conserving malt spices by means of a special vacuum technique.

This helped him to develop a malt extract that proved to be a regenerative energy-giving product over decades for infant children and the sick.

Developed further by Wander's son George, "Ovo" has a recipe of malt, eggs and milk, with some cocoa to round off the taste.

It was first marketed in 1904 as a medicinal preparation but was soon recognised for its energising effects, particularly by sportsmen.

Two years after its launch, "Ovo" had spread beyond the Swiss borders, with the first factory abroad set up in Kings Langley in Britain in 1913.

Ovomaltine is sold worldwide in more than 100 countries, with production facilities at Neuenegg near Bern, in Thailand, the Philippines, China and Australia.

swissinfo


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