The Martin Bauer Group’s roots go back nearly 100 years when company founder Martin Bauer started collecting herbs from fields and selling them at the local market, President and CEO Richard Enticott says of the company’s early days.
Martin Bauer founded the company in 1924. He started off collecting, drying and cutting locally sourced botanicals and selling them in the domestic market. Business accelerated rapidly in the post-war years, and today the company is a leading manufacturer and worldwide supplier of hundreds of teas, extracts and botanical ingredients to the food, beverage and dietary supplement industries, Enticott says.
“It’s the ingredients that we’re in the business of making,” Enticott says. In fact, the company is involved in cultivation, harvesting, cleaning, cutting and processing more than 200 botanical raw materials from around the world. “A lot of them are grown in the wild providing unique challenges to sustainable sourcing,” Enticott says. The ingredients the company produces are used in a variety of products including tea bags, ready-to- drink teas, ice cream, yogurt/smoothies, pet food, craft brews, tablets/capsules and nutritional food bars, he says.
The family owned company, now entering its 4th generation, distinguishes itself from the competition via a philosophy that focuses on consistent quality, sustainably and certified production methods, Enticott says.
Indeed, sustainability is critical to the Martin Bauer Group’s business. To ensure a continuous supply of botanicals to meet market demand, the company’s agricultural engineers and procurement specialists develop sourcing policies designed to ensure consistent product availability, quality and safety, Enticott notes.
But sustainability has added meaning for the Martin Bauer Group. “It means dealing with our employees fairly and on a basis of mutual trust and cooperation to the same extent as we do with our business partners all over the world,” the company says. The philosophy also sees the company involved in social, sporting and cultural projects around the world.
The Martin Bauer Group realized significant growth from the 1960s through the turn of the century as it increased its portfolio of plants and took advantage of the opportunity presented by the collapse of the Soviet Union to expand business to the east of Germany, Enticott says. Additionally, Martin Bauer was a pioneer in early cutting technology for tea bag ingredients at a time when the tea bag market was exploding. By 1967, the cutting system could produce 10 tons of finely cut herbs per day, enough to fill five million teabags, Enticott says.
The company is also one of the largest producers of decaffeinated tea with facilities in Germany and China. During its 40 years of experience making these products, it has optimized the process to ensure decaffeinated tea products retain the health benefits and flavor of a regular black or green tea, Enticott says.
Botanical ingredients offer numerous health benefits, but educating more people about those advantages is one of the company’s most significant challenges in the U.S. market, Enticott says. “The dietary supplement industry uses plants to deliver health and wellness, and businesses in this segment are for the most part well educated concerning botanicals,” he says. “We’re working to bring this level of knowledge and education about botanicals to the broader food industry in order to appeal to a generation that is obsessed with health and wellness but prefers to achieve it through healthy eating choices as opposed to taking supplements.”
There’s competition in the marketplace, but Enticott says several qualities set the Martin Bauer Group apart. First and foremost the focus on food safety supported by its sophisticated laboratory that employs over more than 200 individuals. (Phytolab).
Secondly, a strong innovation and product development department ensures that the company is continuously presenting new concepts and ideas to the customer base, Enticott says. Finally, the company benefits from the people and level of expertise throughout the supply chain that can only be attained as a result of many decades in the global botanicals business, he says.