Nestlé remains ‘very enthusiastic’ about plant-based alternatives, despite pulling Wunda and Garden Gourmet from UK
Nestlé SA pulled two plant-based alternative brands – Garden Gourmet and Wunda – from the UK market during the first quarter of this year. During a conference call with securities analysts to discuss first-quarter results, one analyst asked if the withdrawals signaled a change in Nestlé's plant-based alternative go-to-market strategy.
The Garden Gourmet discontinued products included meat alternatives while Wunda is a pea-based beverage that was launched in the UK in May 2021.
“We continue to be very enthusiastic about the mid- to long-term growth prospects here,” commented Ulf Mark Schneider, CEO, during the 25 April conference call. "I think the two … were more tactical moves that don't take away from our long-term enthusiasm.”
Schneider also said that while Garden Gourmet has a strong presence in continental Europe, the brand was struggling with a “below-scale presence and shelf presence in the UK.
“We were struggling for a few quarters, and we felt that there is no immediate path to success here and, hence, we retreated.”
Regarding Wunda, he said the company still believes in the product, but that the brand’s three stock-keeping unit line was not working.
"We're looking at other ways to reach the consumers either through specialties or through our professional distribution channel,” Schneider said. “And, again, this is not taking away from the long-term growth prospects of this, but the UK market definitely does have a very competitive environment for plant-based and it just turned out that our current go-to-market strategy was not best geared to that.”
Nestlé only brought Garden Gourmet to UK supermarkets, with its Sensational range, in September 2021. The range initially included four plant-based products, consisting of the a burger, mince, Cumberland-style sausages and Mediterranean style filet pieces which can be easily switched into family favorite meals.
Garden Gourmet was already available in the UK to caterers and food-service. Subway UK, for instance, uses Garden Gourmet as the sole provider of vegan 'meatballs' in their hugely popular 'Meatless Meatball Marinara,' which is available in Subway stores across the UK.
Wunda launched in May 2021 and is a pea-based milk alternative. The Wunda range is made from yellow peas which provide high-quality protein and are sourced in France and Belgium. The drinks offer strong nutritional value compared to similar plant-based beverages on the market. They are high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, enriched with calcium and are a source of vitamins D, B2 and B12. The original, unsweetened and chocolate recipes all achieve a Nutri-Score A in Europe. It first launched in France, the Netherlands and Portugal and came to the UK in June 2021.
Nestlé's plant-based portfolio spans from the Americas to Asia, from Europe to Africa to Australia, offering people great alternatives for the food and brands they already love. Examples include plant-based alternatives to meat and seafood, veggie-centric meal options, dairy alternatives, coffee mixes and creamers, chocolate and malt beverages, ice cream, cheese, and vegan confectionery.
Globally, Nestlé has around 300 R&D scientists, engineers and product developers dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products. This represents 10% of all Nestlé R&D employees. Scientists, chefs, and food technologists work together to get the right ingredients, the right taste, texture, and appearance.
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