AquaRush bottling facility designed to meet expanding industry needs

Bottled water has been a refreshment for Australians for the best part of three decades. According to a recent IBISWorld report, the industry in Australia for the past five years through to 2018-19 was valued at just over $700 million, and is expected to grow by 0.8 per cent over the next year. IBISWorld believes this is due to Australians becoming more health conscious and the rise of disposable incomes, especially among millennials.

One company that has been at the forefront of the bottled water and mixed beverage development is AquaRush. Established in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Roshan Chelvaratnam, AquaRush offers various types of water –ranging from spring, sparkling, mineral, demineralised and mixed beverages.

The company combines various technologies and manufacturing facilities, with the intent of reshaping the future of bottled water in Australia and the world.

It has a new HACCP, GMP and ISO-accredited automated bottling and commercial facility that uses a range of technologies to produce the finest quality water products for the consumer and industrial markets at an affordable price point.

It is capable of filling 15,000 350ml bottles per hour and has both PET and glass-filling lines.

The company has existing distribution channels in Australia, APAC, South Africa and the Middle East.

READ MORE: Poor water quality linked to sugary drink consumption

The company has a quality management system that continuously monitors its products to make sure they meet Australian regulatory guidelines, standards and codes of practice. Chelvaratnam is the founder and managing director of the company.

Over the past few years he has built a number of successful businesses across the automotive, import, export and wholesale, electrical, and now beverage market.
“We’re focussed on developing innovative products that cater to people’s diverse lifestyles and interests; new product categories include premium sparkling water, high alkaline water and black sparkling water, to name a few,” said national sales manager Marko Powell. “We offer different variances of water to cater to the customer’s needs.

“We strive to remain at the forefront of innovation with the latest advances in water filtration. We bottle volcanic water, exotic sparkling water, flavoured water, commercial water and more.”

One area that the company doesn’t spare any expense is investing in the training and development of its staff.

Each quarter it offers skills-based training in a specialised area relevant to each role so the company’s staff are learning and developing their knowledge base.

“We’ve also invested in encryption technology allowing our water bottles to be scanned from a smartphone app,” said Powell. “This app links to a product landing page authenticating the product, digitising the experience and allowing consumers to interact with the product they’re purchasing.”

Sustainability is also a buzz word that is gaining traction in the food and beverage industry. This is something that AquaRush is serious about, with it setting itself goals that will mean less plastic in landfills.

“Since 2018, we have implemented 66 per cent recycled plastic bottles and recycled cardboard,” said Powell. “Our goal is to work towards 100 per cent recyclable packaging and we are on track to doing so.

“We use 20 per cent glass in our overall brand portfolio and we aim to increase this to 50 per cent by mid 2020. Progress against our sustainability goals is discussed during senior leadership meetings each quarter.

“Beyond these meetings, the executive committee members are committed to executing against these goals, driving their importance within their immediate staff.”

When it comes to philanthropy, the company knows that giving back to the community is just as important as reducing its carbon footprint.

“We’ve donated money to help rebuild an orphanage for disabled children in Sri Lanka,” said Powell. “The aim of the orphanage is to provide a safe and caring environment for these children who would otherwise be forgotten.”

As well as producing a range of water products under various labels including the I Am, Kangaroo & Koala Aqua Downunder critters, and AquaRush 2Pure Water brands, the company provides private label production services to other companies within the water industries.

AquaRush also supports the World’s first plant-based natural water, and which most recently won the Beverage of the Year Award at the 2019 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, as well as the Global Zenith Awards.

They are also the exclusive water partner to Global Table, which is hosted by Seeds & Chips, the global food organisation.

“The Team at AquaRush is excited to enter into a joint venture partnership with award-winning company Aqua Botanical Beverages from September 2019,” said Chelvaratnam.

“Aqua Botanical has won “Beverage of the Year” two years running and Aqua Rush will be bottling their ‘still’ and ‘sparking’ water products. Our alliance further reinforces our position as a bottler of choice in the industry.

“We will be at Food and Beverage Show displaying Botanical Water and many other fantastic products at our stand. Join us at J31 at the Sydney Fine Foods Exhibition to meet the team and discuss potential private label options and future product development opportunities.”

Huge bounty from local and overseas vendors at Fine Foods Australia

Fine Food Australia opened to large crowds at Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC) with a massive range of products and services on display. This included a huge contingent from China, as well as other Southeast Asian nations such as Taiwan and Thailand, while the European contingent included representatives from Turkey, Italy, Spain and Germany.

As well as a bevy of taste sensations in both food and beverage, there were those exhibitors who also help with the packaging, safety and traceability of perishable goods. One such stand was occupied by barcode specialist GS1, who were having a busy day.

“It’s been really good,” said account director Andrew Steele. “For us it has been about getting our message out especially to the smaller companies that are starting up and they don’t know where to start, where to go or what to do. The most common issue people have is ‘how do I get a barcode?’, and ‘why do I need one?’

“Generally what we find at these sorts of events is that people come up with new, innovative type products but they don’t know what they need to do around barcoding and the like to get their products with some of the major retailers or online places like Amazon.’

And some of the other issues they are finding visitors are interested in?

“Traceability is becoming really big in food, as well as food safety and provenance. Consumers are certainly asking today more about what has gone into a product and they want to know the story behind it.”

A new player in the beverage space, AquaRush was busy all day. For the company, it wasn’t just about getting their product out there but also about finding local distributors as well as drumming up interest from overseas, according to national sales manager Marko Powell.

“We’ve had some really interesting bites from overseas,” said Powell. “We are looking for distributors for every state with our new range. We have nine new products out and today has been pretty full on that is for sure. All of these products we are introducing are new to the market so we are not copying anybody. Another stream we are looking at is selling some of our products as mixers for the liquor industry.”

Then there is Melbourne-based Cookers Bulk Oil who has had 100s of people go through its stand. The company has been on the go and made some good connections according to marketing manager Marianna Costa.

“The show has been fantastic,” said Costa. “We have been incredibility busy and meeting lots of people. We’ve had some good leads and numbers through. For us it’s about education and it’s about brand awareness. We want people to see and hear about our sustainability message at Cookers.’

Taking up two floors at the ICC, and with 900 exhibitors, the event has three more days to run.

 

 

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