Nestlé announced the launch of ‘Wunda’ a home-grown non-dairy milk brand this week.

It would have been a ‘do we, don’t we?’ decision for executives. On one hand the category has exploded from $3bn in 2012 to over $7bn this year. (It shows no sign of stopping either) On the other it’s a segment where few are making money.

Plant or non-dairy milk is to the food industry what electric cars are to the automobile market.

There’s Tesla-Oatly, poised to IPO at a staggering $10bn, followed by scores of other brands from heavyweights like Danone, entrenched regionals like Sanitarium (‘So Good’ in Australia), Vitasoy (HK/China) not to mention a plethora of gutsy rivals.

Nestlé faced the same conundrum as BMW or Mercedes, in the end they couldn’t just sit and watch idly.

Nestlé’s choice to launch Wunda in France, the Netherlands and Portugal first is deliberate. France is historically a super-strong Nestlé market; and most of the non-dairy milk action is focused on English speaking markets. Nestlé wants to avoid being in the competition’s headlights.

Look carefully at the packaging and there’s no Nestlé logo. Why? Many consumers associate the company with milk. The french version here doesn’t say milk (‘lait’) either. French rules reserve that distinction for animal milk products only. 

Personally I like the brand name. It ticks many boxes on my international naming checklist. (Check out my book if you’d like to know more!)

However, I would have liked to see more product claims. ‘Bon sans tout’ (‘good in all’) is flat and promises little in my opinion.

So I think the challenge will be with the trade. How is this going to grow the category? Getting listings and promoting on and offline will be expensive. Retail buyers will be rubbing their hands. 

The crowded non dairy milk category in Japan, 2021

I hope the CEO is not expecting pay back anytime soon.