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Mavea Exits North American Market Frustrating Water Filtration Pitcher Owners

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As you may be aware, Mavea, the water filtration company, has exited the North American market. Those of us who owned their quality water pitchers are soon to be without the ability to find replacement filters – more on that in a moment.

Mavea History

According to company history, accurately documented on Wikipedia, BRITA started in 1966 when Heinz Hankammer had the idea of optimizing normal tap water. He named the company after his daughter Brita. Its headquarters are in Taunusstein near Wiesbaden in Germany.

In 1988, The Clorox Company, based in Oakland, California, entered in a licensing-and-distribution agreement with the German company for North and South America. Then in the year 2000, Clorox acquired the sole rights to the brand in North America and BRITA agreed to a non-compete clause until 2005. Subsequently beginning in 2008, BRITA returned to the North American market under the brand Mavea.

The key to Mavea/Brita’s success is the Maxtra filter which maximizes the water flow over the carbon and ion exchange resins, more effectively than the competition. The company also used the highest standards for carbon element sourcing and has an unmatched no-cost filter recycling program.

spent mavea filter xsection

Cross section of a Mavea Maxtra filter (image from Wikipedia)

 

As recently as 2016, Mavea was still improving the filtering technology with the innovative compostable MicroDisc carbon filters. This development seemed to be in answer to the lack of interest by consumers in taking advantage of the totally free filter return process.

Surprise Exit

At the end of 2016, word came that Mavea was leaving North America and fans began to search for answers. Calls to the toll free number are answered by agents with Canadian and French Canadian accents, who advise callers that the filters would be available at retail outlets until supplies were exhausted. The first filters to become unavailable were the newest Microdisc products.

No explanation was available from the service members as to why Mavea/Brita Germany was exiting the North American market. Emails to Brita Germany seeking more details have, as of this writing, gone unanswered.

Kitchenboy has a couple of thoughts regarding potential problems with sales. While the pitcher is made of high quality plastic and silicone with a stylish, refrigerator friendly shape, the price was on the higher side. The larger problem may have been in their dealings with retailers.

While searching for a local outlet to purchase replacement filters, I learned that Mavea limited retailers ability to sell the filters. Unless the retailer could guarantee a certain level of pitcher sales, they would not be allowed to sell the filters. For a retailer, the repeat business from replacement filter sales is the more profitable portion of home water filtration. If they can’t sell the filters, then the motivation to sell pitchers is limited.

Restrictions of this sort are not unusual, Alessi, the high end Italian housewares company, also uses such arrangements. By placing restrictions on the retailers, Mavea was limiting the consumer’s options to larger outlets such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and online sellers like Amazon.

Without clarification from Brita Germany, we won’t know what challenges forced them to drop from the lucrative North American market.

Mavea Owner Remedy

If like me, you own a Mavea water pitcher, you are now or soon will find the replacement Maxtra filters difficult to purchase. As of this writing, Amazon still seems to have them in plentiful supply.

After some research, Kitchenboy has found a Maxtra size filter that will work in the standard Mavea pitcher. I didn’t put much effort into looking for possible alternatives for the MicroDisc products.

One water filter that fits standard Mavea pitchers is made by Lake Industries in the United States. The filters are available on Amazon for a decent price, four filters for $34.95, and are Prime eligible.

An email exchange with a Lake Industries representative revealed they have been in business since 1979, and seem unlikely to go out of business any time soon. There is one difference between Lake and Mavea: Lake Industries filters, in addition to removing toxins, also alkalize the water using dissolving minerals.

Their filter utilizes a seven stage cartridge consisting of ION EXCHANGE RESIN, TOURMALINE, MINERAL BALLS, and CARBON. These combine to remove chlorine, odors, heavy metals, plus 90% of all zinc, copper, lead and pollutants.

This is important information to know if you use a Total Dissolved Solids meter to check filter results. The alkalized water won’t register significantly lower marks using such a device. The company recommends pH and OTO tests, the latter for Chlorine, to determine the filter’s effectiveness.

I am not sold on the alleged health benefits of alkaline water, but since using the Lake Industries filters, I find the water does taste good, better than Mavea even, possibly due to the higher, softer pH levels.

Summary

Personal frustration aside, this abrupt exit seems inconsistent with Mavea’s focus on environmental responsibility. Many consumers will toss the pitchers, which will likely end up in a landfill rather than a recycling center.

Wouldn’t the more responsible ecological action have been to remedy sales problems, rather than contribute to landfill waste?


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11 Responses to “Mavea Exits North American Market Frustrating Water Filtration Pitcher Owners”

  1. Linda Fortunato

    Hi I would love to purchase a Mavea Pitcher where can I get it
    I checked Amazon and other places.

    Thank you
    Linda Fortunato
    email: linff926@yahoo.com

  2. j

    I didn’t realize the extent of their retreating from NA until finding your article. But for those of us near a Bed Bath and Beyond, it appears they continue to (at limited store locations and on their site) to sell the Mavea filter. It apparently fits a coffee machine that they actively sell. We’ll see how long that lasts! However, I look forward to trying the alternative filter you mention here, as I like alkalized water.

  3. Arlene

    I was shocked to learn Maeva pulled out of N. America. I bought, in Canadian $, one of their new pitchers fitting micro-discs after many conversations with Agents inquiring when the new product was becoming available at the beginning of the year. So, not to happy about to read of this. My cousin’s wife is from Germany so I will see if she can drum some up over there. Thanks for the update on Maeva.

  4. kitchenboy

    Hello Dino, you can find the Lake Industries water filters at Amazon and directly from the company’s website.

    As mentioned in the article, I have enjoyed the way the water tastes and am pleased with coffee and tea made using the water from Lake Industries filters.

    Thanks for reading
    Kitchenboy

  5. dino

    Hi
    could you point me to the amazon links for Lake Industries filters?

  6. kitchenboy

    If you can find the Mavea pitcher, I would recommend buying one cause they are generally more sturdy in construction. The pitchers are only the device to hold the water, and you are correct, their filters are the key. But the limescale is removed by ion-exchanged resins, which is present in some filters – Mavea, Lake Industries, ZeroWater, maybe a couple others.

    Now I don’t know the long term plans of Mavea (Brita Germany) but supplies of pitchers and filters will be exhausted in North America soon enough.

    Thanks for reading,
    Kitchenboy

  7. ra

    What is the point in purchasing a Mavea if you can find one if you have to buy Lake filters? The only reason I’d want Mavea over other brands would be for the limescale filter. No one else has that, right???

  8. kitchenboy

    Regina, the Mavea pitchers are quickly disappearing from Amazon – the filters from Mavea are also still available, but will disappear unless Mavea has a change of heart. Lake’s filters should be around much longer and personally I have already switched – love it for coffee and tea. Lake Industries also manufacture and sell a pitcher that resembles the Mavea, but is not as sturdily made.

    The real benefits to Mavea were, yes a sturdy attractive pitcher, but mostly the filter design and free recycling, which was done in Germany. So advice-wise, yes you could buy the Mavea pitcher and Lake Industries filters and be very happy. If you don’t mind purified water, go with ZeroWater.

    This product uses a thorough multistage filter which removes all total dissolved solids – toxics, chemicals, minerals and all, even fluoride. My wife prefers this style for drinking water and I admit the water tastes really clean.

    It all just depends on what your water goal is in regards to natural local mineral content.

    Kitchenboy

  9. Regina

    So are you saying that I can still buy a Mavea and replace the filter with Lake’s? I can’t stand our water and am in the market for a pitcher filtration device. I had 2 brittas but do not like them. What is your suggestion? Shouls I still buy a Mavea or move on to another brand?

  10. kitchenboy

    Hi Jonathan sorry for the delay. Since the program was shut down, I was told directly that they won’t recycle. If you wanted to do the best thing in disposing of the filters, you could disassemble the filter, compost the carbon elements, anywhere really, and then put the plastic frame in the plastic recycling bins. The sachet that holds the carbon elements would the only part that may end up in the regular trash.

    I faced the same dilemma and did what I just described, the carbon elements went in my compost pile, however charcoal could be spread on the lawn or in the woods even without harm to the environment.

    I have filters from other companies where I have to do the same thing because they have no recycling program at all. One company I have to pay to return to them, but they will recycle them.

    Maybe an idea for a business, deconstruct and recycle filters to keep them from landfills.

    Thanks for reading
    Kitchenboy

  11. Jonathan

    Hi there. I was wondering if you know if any Mavea filters are still being accepted anywhere for recycling? Mavea’s website is basically useless. Also, you mentioned about the fate of the many pitchers that were sold here in North America going into landfills; I don’t suppose the pitchers are somehow recyclable are they? I have mine, and about 8 filters, that I have been hesitating to throw in the garbage…

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