Virgin's Richard Branson announces Israel water plan

By Jessica Elgot, May 30, 2012
Richard Branson and Ofra Strauss

Richard Branson and Ofra Strauss

Water is the latest target for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin empire - using technology imported from Israel.

The millionaire entrepreneur visited scientists and technology start-ups in Israel a few months ago, but it was a cup of cold water, offered to him by Strauss Group chair Ofra Strauss that caught his imagination.

This week Sir Richard launched Virgin Pure, with Strauss Water, a £300 water purifying machine that he hopes will rival the Hoover to be the gadget that changed the home. "Ofra showed me the machine in Israel and I wanted to buy one for our family. I realised how few homes had one of these."

The machine filters, chills and boils water from the mains, and is already present in 20 per cent of Israeli homes. Family business Strauss, a food and beverage empire which began 75 years ago as a dairy farm, devloped the technology inside the machine.

Israeli innovation impressed the Virgin owner. The company has already made strategic partnershops with Pepsi, Danone and Frito-Lay snacks.

Britain was a target market because of the country's "tea obsession". Around 10m homes use only bottled or filtered water, according to the company's research, people who the company hopes will invest the significant cost in the machine to make longer term savings.

Last updated: 2:46pm, May 30 2012