Danone set to launch “dairy-like” segment

8 Oct 2021

To help close the gap between dairy drinkers and plant-based milk acolytes, dairy giant Danone is launching a plant-based “dairy-like” segment in January 2022. Initially, the new segment will launch with two beverages: Silk nextmilk and So Delicious Wondermilk.

Both of these plant-based options were created through R&D that deconstructed the attributes identified as instrumental in the sensory experience, including the mouthfeel, of drinking dairy milk. To recreate these characteristics in both of its new products, Danone chose a blend of plant-based ingredients, including soy, coconut, and oats. Both brands will sell cartons of their respective milk alternatives for $4.99 per carton.

Danone set to launch “dairy-like” segment
Courtesy of Danone

In addition to a newly conceptualized plant-based milk, the So Delicious brand will launch Wondermilk frozen desserts (or vegan ice cream), which will be available in five flavors, as well as two cone flavors. There was no additional information on the dessert flavors from Danone.

Plant-based dairy is a popular and growing segment. According to 2020 data from the Good Food Institute, 39% of households now purchase plant-based milk. However, there is an even larger percentage of households that purchase either both dairy and plant-based milk options or dairy milk exclusively. The largest barrier to tapping into a consumer base that has not yet made the switch from animal-based milk is taste.

The plant-based dairy sector is dominated by three distinct protein sources: soy, oat and almond. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, one common complaint from consumers is that each of these three options has a plant-like taste that does not sufficiently replicate dairy milk. In a report from the ingredients company Kerry, more than half of consumers noted that the taste of plant-based products is what keeps them from consuming plant-based alternatives.

If Danone’s blended milks can succeed in convincing consumers to incorporate its alternative milk into their grocery lists, the reward will be lucrative. Over the past two years, plant-based dairy dollar sales grew 55%, reaching $1.9 billion last year, per SPINS data cited by the Good Food Institute.

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