Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Magnum goes vegan

Posted on:
October 17, 2018
Julian Mellentin

In September 2018, Unilever-owned Magnum launched two vegan versions of the popular ice-cream in Sweden and Finland. Plant-based eaters there, estimated at around 6-9% of the population, are now able to enjoy Magnum Classic and Magnum Almond, based on pea protein.

Vegan Magnum Classic contains 1.6g of protein per 100g and 28g of sugar, while the regular Magnum Classic contains 3.6g per 100g and 27g of sugar.

The product has also launched in the UK, where the vegan ice-cream market is thriving and includes other popular brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Cornetto.

Magnum Vegan is described as “a luxurious vegan alternative” and promoted as being “100% pleasure”. In the UK, the product is promoted exclusively on a vegan platform whereas in Sweden, Magnum also bills it as an option for people sensitive to milk.

Magnum Vegan retails in the UK at a nearly 100% price premium compared with other Magnums. When compared to other vegan ice-cream sticks on the market, the price premium is nearly 50%.  Will the price tag put vegan pleasure seekers off? Probably not. Magnum Vegan gives ethically-concerned consumers an opportunity to indulge in a real classic from the ice-cream aisle, and that is likely to go a long way.

by Mikaela Lindén

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NNB talks personalised nutrition in Lübeck

Posted on:
September 25, 2018
Julian Mellentin

What are the key drivers behind personalised nutrition? And how can companies respond to consumers’ demand for tailored solutions?

These are some of the questions that NNB’s research manager Joana Maricato explored at NEWTRITION X, the first international industry summit dedicated solely to personalised nutrition.

Held in the historic German city of Lübeck on 12 September 2018, and organised by the foodRegio e.V. industry network, NEWTRITION X gathered decision makers from the food industry, particularly those working in the innovative fields of development, nutrition, health and wellbeing, to discover the latest findings and the potential of personalised nutrition.

Personalisation has been identified as one of the key trends in the business of food, nutrition & health. It is all about consumers “taking back control” of what they buy, eat and do – people want to feel more empowered and confident to create their very own healthy eating patterns.

One of the lessons emerging so far is that the tech and apps aspect of personalised nutrition is the easy part compared to the challenges of delivering personalised foods.

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The Empire strikes back – food giant creates new mini-meal brand

Posted on:
August 3, 2018
Julian Mellentin



Unilever’s latest product launch shows that “Big Food” is just as capable of innovation as entrepreneurial start-ups.

As the UK market leader in mini-meals and owner of the No. 1 brand in instant pot products, Unilever clearly doesn’t intend to leave the reinvention of the category – growing at 20% annually – in the hands of upstart brands.

It has created a new brand called Prep Co alongside its existing market-leading brand, the mass-market Pot Noodle, targeting health-aware consumers.

In packaging, ingredients, flavours and marketing, Prep Co looks and feels exactly like a start-up challenger brand. It describes itself as:

“A one-pot…..lunch that’s delicious, made with natural ingredients, and ready in 5 minutes. So no need to panic if you have a ‘working lunch’ – Prep Co is ready and waiting.”

Its “better-for-you” credentials are based on using all-natural ingredients with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Each pot also delivers one of the recommended ‘five a day’ of vegetables.

Prep Co comes in four “globally-inspired” flavours:

  • Mediterranean Couscous
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Indian Spiced Lentils
  • Mexican Chilli Rice

The instant pots are made by adding boiling water and weigh 252g after preparation. Each pot delivers between 6g and 12g of plant protein – important to many health-conscious urban consumers – and most ingredients are flagged as being “from sustainable agriculture”.

Once synonymous with quick and easy junk-food and seen as the centre-piece of the student kitchen cupboard, one-pot foods are now being re-positioned with healthier options. A number of start-ups have come into the category, but they struggle to make headway. Their struggle will be harder now – with Prep Co Unilever has taken away their chance of creating a point of difference or of positioning themselves as more-virtuous, all-natural brands offering something that ‘Big Food’ can’t or won’t offer.

Not only that, but with the benefits of scale on its side, Unilever can both capture the customers willing to pay a premium for naturalness and health – Prep Co is sold at a 100% premium to mass-market Pot Noodle – while looking like great value compared to the start-ups, which are positioned at a 50%-100% premium to Prep Co.

As a strategy, it’s always better to actively reinvent your category and create new brands and new segments than to sit with your existing brands and watch new entrants grab the opportunities.

In the past ‘Big Food’ companies would never have adopted such a bold strategy – leading many to conclude that the new entrants would reinvent every market. The launch of Prep Co shows that there’s nothing inevitable about that outcome.

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