125 years of sweet seduction

 

Bavaria’s oldest jam producer is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. A lot has changed during these 125 years, but what remained the same is the consciousness for tradition, innovation and high product quality. Up until today the company has been 100% family-owned and this should be a lasting tradition. In 1886 the founder of the company, Josef Müller, could probably hardly imagine that people from four different continents would know and enjoy Maintal specialties in 2011. On his way he had to go through different stages until he finally – at the end of the 19th century - became a pioneer for the rosehip jam, which is so popular today.

 

At the beginning the company only traded in vegetables...

He founded the company „Josef Müller Junior“, a wholesaler of vegetables and natural products, and traded mainly in tea, herbage, dried fruits as well as rosehip pips. The company’s slogan: „Omnia cum deo“ – „All with God“ was supposed to bring huge successes to the strictly religious Catholic and his heirs. With his headquarters in his parents’ house he had already had trading contacts to Denmark and Switzerland.

 

...then marmalade production started...

In 1889 the first jellies and marmalades were produced in enamel kettles. The production worked out perfectly; the quality of the products was excellent. Soon the number of orders and customers grew rapidly; so Müller invested in bigger kettles and employed more staff. In 1911, when the company had its 25th anniversary, he was having complex expansion and modernization plans. At that time there were already five employees who worked in the marmalade production department from 6 am to 7 pm. During the First World War there were also bad times for Müller’s business: sugar and fruits were valuable goods and confiscated. Only a ton of sugar and fruits was given out for the production of war mush. The free sale of marmalade was strictly forbidden.After the end of the war the company fully concentrated on the production of marmalade in 1919 - when the trade in dried fruits was forbidden due to food shortage. His son, Rudolf Müller, joined the company in the same year. By 1922 the company had disposed of impressive machinery, so all production steps corresponded to the most sophisticated standards within the scope of the possibilities at that time....an upswing after some hard years...In 1930 Josef Müller retired at the age of 70 and handed the business over to his son Rudolf Müller. After the company had been renamed “Maintal-Obstindustrie” in 1933, Josef aimed at further expansion and decided to have a new plant built on a site between Haßfurt and Zeil. Up until today the Industriestraße has remained the company’s headquarters. During the Second World War, rosehip jam, which is rich in vitamins, was an essential nutrition part for submarine crews. After 1945 reorientation had become necessary; the war had changed a lot of things: Many people were left with nothing, the black market was prospering and Maintal lost its trading areas in today’s Thuringia due to Germany’s separation. Moreover the company had to pay 6-digit equalization of burdens  by 1979. After his son Helmut had finished his business administration studies successfully, Rudolf Müller made him join the management in 1954. In 1973 Helmut took over the company’s leadership entirely. At this point the company did not only produce jams and marmalades but also canned fruits and fruit syrups. The company invested in modern production and storage technique steadily. …and the development of the new business segment: organic jams… Anne Feulner and Klaus Hammelbacher joined the company in 1989 as the fourth generation and have been leading the company since 1999. The new leadership planned to carry out reorientation plans: The model of sales agencies had become out of date and a new distribution team was supposed to maintain, extend and establish business relationships not only nationally but also internationally. Since then, trade fairs have become important platforms to present the company, its products and its traditions as well as to develop new markets. In 1998 market research institute Nielsen AC declared that Maintal was market leader of rosehip jam in Germany. In 2000 the first line of organic jams was introduced and distributed as “Annes Beste”. After a relaunch in 2009 “Annes Beste” became “Annes Feinste”. Respecting strict guidelines the company became a certified organic producer and worked on new product lines. Today the product line comprises conventional jam specialties, three organic jam lines, wine jellies, jelly specialties from Franconia, seasonal summer and winter creations and various groats (stewed fruits). By now the company produces around 100,000 glasses of jam in Haßfurt every day and all big names of German food retailing have business connections with Maintal Konfitüren GmbH. Around 70 employees work at the plant in Haßfurt and give their best to satisfy Maintal’s customers. The company, which was founded by Josef Müller, is one of the oldest and most traditional jam producers throughout Germany and offers a total of 600 different products in more than 20 countries.