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Sunday, 27 November 2016


Ovaltine, the well- known bedtime beverage was first manufactured in Berne, Switzerland. It was invented in 1865 by Dr. George Wander, a Swiss chemist who established the high nutritional value of barley malt. He then began to manufacture malt extract and launched the food drink, ‘Ovomaltine.’

The original name Ovomaltine was derived from two of its two main ingredients, ovum, Latin for egg, and malt. It also contains milk.

Ovaltine arrived in Britain from Switzerland as Ovomaltine in 1909, but was re-launched with the now-familiar brand name as a health drink.

Ovaltine advertisement in a medical journal, 1909

A factory was set up four years later at Kings Langley, Hertfordshire with its own egg and dairy farms close to the site. Barley was produced by local independent farmers.

By 1915, Ovaltine was being manufactured in Villa Park, Illinois, for the U.S. market.

The drink spawned The Ovaltineys, which started life in 1935 as a family show on Radio Luxembourg, with one of its earliest stars being a young Leslie Crowther. The Ovaltineys' advertising jingle was regarded as one of the most successful jingles of the era and featured the iconic English singing trio The Beverley Sisters.

Ovaltine was owned by the Wander family until 1996 when they merged with CIBA and the new firm became known as Novartis. Five years later, Novartis sold out to Associated British Foods, but although the Ovaltine product is now in British ownership, it continues to be manufactured in Switzerland.

A mug of ovaltine made with hot milk, and a tablespoon of the powder. By J.P.Lon 

In 2011, Ovaltine was banned in Denmark under legislation forbidding the sale of food products with added vitamins.

Sources Daily Mail, Radio Times

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