NUK Brand History
A lot has happened over the past six decades. The history of NUK is long and exciting. It all started from the idea of inventing a natural teat suited to the jaw, to help provide the best start to babies lives.
Find out how NUK, together with medicine, science and society, in Germany alone, has worked on helping over 50 million children and their parents for almost 60 years. Every year and every generation has left its mark on NUK’s knowledge and has helped us gain a wealth of unique experience. Here you can get a glimpse of the brand biography – have fun!
The Baby Boom.
In the 1950s, baby boomers represented a new market whose needs were met quickly during advances in technology and new economic optimism. It was also when the first relaxing holidays abroad were taken, romantic films were watched at the movies and hips were swung to rock ‘n’ roll.
An invention from NUK brings great changes.
With the baby boom of the 1950s, the need for better baby products also grew. Breastfeeding was seen as unfashionable; children were brought up with a bottle. Many children sucked their thumbs or were given rolled-up cloths to find satisfaction for their sucking reflex. The consequences were often dramatic: crooked teeth, tooth decay and speech disorders. Already at the end of the 1940s, the dental experts Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Balters and Dr. med. dent. Adolf Müller, discovered that babies who had been breastfed developed significantly fewer crooked teeth, and so they researched sucking, drinking and breastfeeding further. As a result, they invented the first asymmetric teat shape, which was modelled on the physiology of a mother’s breast during breastfeeding. “Natural and suited to the jaw” was the name given to this shape, which is still used in the production of NUK Teats and Soothers today.
At first, consumers stood helplessly in front of the asymmetric NUK Teats, because, quite simply, there was no information on the new product for them. NUK reacted to this and visited clinics and midwives to explain the medical concept and the benefits of the teat. At the same time, general interest in dental health was increasing and so it didn't take long before NUK Soothers and Teats were being seen in an ever increasing number of happy babies’ mouths. Most people has seen baby photos of their own parents or relations with the plain, white NUK Soothers in their little mouths. By the end of the 50s, the NUK Brand was becoming a household name.
New Age and Family Planning Progress.
In the 1960s, a special kind of magic was in the air. The Beatles, miniskirts, the moon landing, emancipation – life became colourful, fun-loving, different. Modern technology was responsible for a lot of the changes in this decade and achieved significant breakthroughs which are still relevant to this day – audible, visible, tangible.
NUK launches in Australia in 1967
Progress also changed parenting, child care and family planning. After being approved for use in the USA in 1960, the “pill” was available in Australia a year later: an innovation that not only affected family planning, but also changed the role of women significantly. Society changed because women could now plan pregnancies. Many concentrated on their education and career first and decided to have a baby later - having a baby was increasingly becoming a conscious decision. And with that, the requirements and demands made on all the different types of care for babies and children changed.
The disposable nappy was invented and the latest pram became an object of prestige. Medicine continued to develop too and 1967 we saw the first ultrasound scanner. And even in terms of baby food there were developments: wholesome baby food could now be produced from powdered milk.
Essentially, it was a practical invention for mothers, but it did present NUK with new challenges: it was difficult to fill the milk powder into the narrow-necked bottles that had been used up until then. NUK reacted promptly and brought a bottle with a wider opening onto the market. Shortly afterwards, the screw cap followed, which finally meant that baby formula could be shaken and transported without leaking, making it a great deal easier for new mothers. The company kept its finger on the pulse of time and, by using liquid latex, was able to put the NUK Teats with their correct shape for the jaw into quicker production and, with that, respond to constantly increasing demand.
Social Movements and Personal Development.
The 1970s were a remarkable decade. It was not all flower-power, bell-bottoms, disco sounds, a growing variety of lifestyles, but also social movements, which were springing up everywhere. The stories that wove themselves through this decade can be traced back, for the most part, to this change in social consciousness: people were more aware of themselves and their environment and reflected on natural development.
The natural principles of NUK Products are a perfect match to the new acceptance of nature’s inevitability.
Babies were now increasingly seen as independent personalities, who communicate with their environment right from the beginning and have feelings and memories. With that, the babies’ emotions shifted into the focus of parents, medical practitioners and society. Women no longer gave birth at home but in clinics, where the services for pregnant women, children and parents were improving considerably. NUK visited doctors, nurses and midwives in hospitals to speak with them and give advice; and to be inspired. With success, in 1971, NUK introduced the first disposable teat for bottles worldwide. Teats and screw-rings were preassembled and – particularly important in clinics – pre-disinfected and individually, hygienically packed. Other medical specialist products, such as teats for special needs, came from working closely together with clinic personnel.
The “return to nature” also led to a renaissance in breastfeeding at home. To add support to this type of natural and “close contact” feeding of babies, NUK now started to provide other breastfeeding products, such as nipple shields for protecting tender nipples. But NUK’s greatest innovation in this decade had to do with air; thanks to the invention of a teat with a vent in 1979, a vacuum no longer occurred inside the bottle while drinking. This meant babies swallowed less air and had less tummy pains.
And because successful trends catch on easily around the world, there were NUK Products in over 48 countries by the end of the 1970s.
New Wave and Elaborate Colours
The 1980s not only saw the career of Madonna really take off, it also saw the first home computer, bright colour combinations, new television channels, shoulder pads and the fall of the Berlin Wall. A real mixed bag; the 1980s were characterised by numerous changes, many of which took place all at the same time. So it was no wonder that the world looked very different after these ten years – politically, aesthetically, and for babies too.
A lot of colour and a colourless synthetic material.
At the time it was a real miracle; July 1980, two years after the birth of the world´s first “test tube” baby in the UK, Australia´s first “test tube” baby was born– thanks to IVF (in vitro fertilisation). People who previously were unable to have children, now had that ability.
There were also great innovations for babies; even more than in the decades before, the aim was now to simplify the daily routines of babies and mothers. The first baby monitors came onto the market and, together with better child car seats, children’s safety improved as a whole.
Using the slogan, “Some Motherly Love”, NUK, too, worked even harder for babies and parents. As the pioneer of natural baby products, NUK invested its expertise in other areas of life. Breastfeeding was recommended then, as it still is today, with breast pads and electric milk pumps making natural feeding easier for both mothers and babies. NUK also developed other products that were urgently needed such as baby tooth brushes, teething rings to ease teething pains and special potties. After being developed with experts, the steriliser was introduced in 1985 for practical steam disinfection. NUK entered into a brand new product sector, “Silicon Valley” in the USA was booming and the new super material, silicone, found its way to NUK. It started a soother revolution: now there were silicone soothers, an alternative to latex soothers.
Not only was fashion gaudy, cars vividly coloured and accessories trendy and bright, even NUK dipped its products in new colours. Thanks to new printing technologies, many products could now be manufactured with colourful designs. NUK was – once again – at the forefront of current trends.
Deeply Moving Findings and Electrifying Technology.
In the 1990s progress moved even faster: The internet, electronic “techno” music and mobile telephones were invented. Higher, further, faster could be the three words that best describe this decade.
At the same time, scientists were concentrating even more on babies and children. Long-term studies and new research findings showed that babies react to their environment at a very early age and that this interaction also has an effect on their development. It was the starting signal for countless antenatal and postnatal support programs. Classical music was said to increase fetal well-being and intelligence, while toys were said to advance early learning. But mothers were not left out; thanks to electronic media, the traditional workplace became more flexible. Increasingly more mothers were able to combine work and family life better.
NUK brought striped ducks and teats that “grow with your child” to the 1990s.
The latest anthropological (study of humankind) findings revealed that for both teats and soothers it is important not only for their shape to suit the jaw, but that they are also of the optimal size. NUK reacted immediately, with the world´s first “growing” size concept for teats and soothers that corresponds to the most important stages of development: infants between 0-6 months, babies over 6 months and children over 18 months.
NUK had even more good ideas in the 1990s; in 1998, the leak-proof drinking cup came onto the market to help children learn to drink on their own at an early age.
New quality control processes, technologies and innovations meant further developments were also made on existing NUK products.
NUK won a place in children´s hearts for the first time in the 1990s with popular and likeable characters, such as JANOSCH or Snoopy, decorated bottles, soothers and other NUK Products. In 1998, NUK was finally available online, offering parents both information and practical tips right around the clock, proving our slogan “Understanding Life”
New Ideas for Old Habits
With the Millennium came new words; information is now googled, friends are added, products are ordered, personal information is shared and people are “online” almost all the time. Google, Facebook, Amazon, iPhone and Co. have changed our daily lives.
One of the catch phrases of the new century was “demographic change“. Everyone was talking about the question of “children or career?”. New mothers wanted children AND a career! Modern women were no longer just mothers but carried out far more other roles in life. Young families wanted to enjoy their happiness but without having to cut back on anything. The allocation of roles had to be redefined once again. A lot was now known about children and babies – and these findings had to be applied to the daily routines of families.
As the century changed, NUK brought practical solutions into the changing daily routines of families.
NUK took its slogan “Understanding Life” even more literally and, once again, became a pioneer. In the course of the first decade of 2000, numerous products were developed that helped to make the lives of children and their parents healthier and better organised. Clever ideas were just as important as medical findings for this.
2003 saw the combined bottle and teat system, “NUK FIRST CHOICE”, come into the world. In 2006, the NUK Oral Care programme began for healthy and hygienic oral development. In 2007, the NUK Genius Soother arrived on the baby shelves (released in Australia in 2015); its optimised teat shape combined all the scientific findings that NUK had collected up till then. In 2010, NUK entered completely new territory. The NUK Baby Bottle Cleanser to make baby bottles, teats and soothers simply cleaner. So, at the end of the first decade there were lots of new products that perfectly suited dynamic and flexible lifestyles with children in the new millennium.
At the heart of understanding life
The 2010s began exactly like the last six decades, with new children. The demands of natural products that are suitable for babies are constantly changing – every generation has different needs.
Innovations marked the start of this decade for NUK.
In 2012, NUK First Choice Plus was launched: the new generation of teats for relaxed feeding as at a mother’s breast. Contributions to the development of this product were made not only by medical professionals and midwives, but also by mothers - the best people to know what the ideal baby bottle has to be like.
With great products for learning to eat, a brand new soother and new household and care products, NUK has once again come up with lots of ideas for simplifying the lives of children and parents. This decade has only just begun and, at NUK, we are looking forward to seeing what great ideas the future will bring!