- The Silk brand, owned by WhiteWave Foods, is debuting Nutchello, a nut-based, low-calorie beverage that doesn't contain dairy, artificial flavors or colors, or high-fructose corn syrup.
- Silk is positioning Nutchello as a plant-based beverage that consumers can drink any time of day.
- Silk is supporting the launch by partnering with Katie Lee, an author and culinary tastemaker.
Sales of plant-based products, including Silk, for WhiteWave rose 29% in 2015 (26% in the fourth quarter), and those sales may continue to rise as more consumers seek out dairy alternatives. Growth in the category, in addition to the premium dairy segment with 18% sales growth, led to WhiteWave's second consecutive quarter topping $1 billion in overall sales, a 12.8% increase over the prior year.
Nutchello, which the company highlighted in its CAGNY presentation, is an example of WhiteWave's commitment to innovation within the plant-based category. It identified nearly $3 billion of opportunities in plant-based product development, such as creamers, ice cream, and yogurts. The company's acquisition of plant-based foods producer Vega Foods was another key move in WhiteWave's road to dominance in this category.
Similar to cereal producers' approach, WhiteWave aims to expand occasions to consume the product to be an all-day affair rather than relegating the product to a specific time of day, such as breakfast in the morning for cereal. The company took positioning an extra step by using a culinary industry celebrity (as cereal producers also have) to introduce an even more novel approach to using Nutchello — as an alcoholic beverage component.