Any consumer who thinks about plant-based milk alternatives will think about one name: Alpro. The milk alternative pioneer can look back on almost 40 years of marketing experience and still knows how to keep the brand trendy. The brands Alpro and Provamel aim to score with non-GMO ingredients, accurate production processes and a diverse product portfolio within the next years, how Anja Grunefeld – Marketing Director G-A-CH at Alpro – told us in our exclusive interview.
What is the current situation in your company?
Alpro is the European pioneer in the field of plant-based food and drinks. We sell our products in most European countries as well as in the Arabic region, Canada, Israel, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. The company owns the two brands Alpro and Provamel.
Are there any changes in strategy since the takeover by Danone?
No, there are no changes in strategy. Alpro still promotes a plant-based nutrition, engaging for GMO-free, sustainably produced food and drinks. Alpro becoming part of Danone is about bringing the two together – broadening our portfolio and giving consumers more choice. We are better together and we aim to grow these complementary food products to their maximum potential.
Which campaigns have you planned for 2018/2019?
We are planning different campaigns, focusing on our new products and socially relevant topics. More cannot be disclosed at the moment.
How do you assess/view the vegan market’s developments and the course of the vegan lifestyle within the next 3 years?
In the past years the vegan market has grown immensely and we believe this trend will continue. For example the global plant-based drinks market is set to reach $21.6 billion by 2022. In Europe, Germany and the United Kingdom are taking the lead.
Plant-based choices are a trend that becomes aspirational for a broader target group: Veganism changed from being a close tribe to an inspiring community to flexitarian lifestyle. There is a growing number of people – the so-called flexitarians – that are not fully willing to give up meat, fish, honey or dairy, but choose to cut back on animal products part-time, making room for plant-based products and changing the food pyramid to a plant-based basis. The key reasons for this change are the wish for a healthier lifestyle and concerns about the environment.
Soy as resource for vegan products is continually discussed controversial. In your opinion: How will the use of soy change within the coming years?
According to the current state of relevant studies, soy is considered a healthy part of a balanced plant-based nutrition. This is why we believe in our soy products. Of course we do only use GMO-free soy from non-rainforest areas.
Additionally we have broadened our product range since 2011 with plant-based drinks made of almond, oat, coconut, rice and different types of nuts. This offers our consumers an even broader variety of tasty plant-based products.
More and more companies – conventional & vegan – offer milk and yoghurt alternatives. How do you stand your ground against your competitors?
Since 1980 Alpro produces high-quality and sustainably produced plant-based drinks. Besides the fact that our products are tasty and offer a broad variety, our consumers attach importance to our company’s values and mission. They can rely on Alpro to use only GMO-free soy beans that are not purchased in the global market or from rainforest areas, but from contract farmers in Europe or Canada. Strict controls and cooperative partnerships guarantee a stable and high quality for our products. We can track the way of our products all the way back to the seeding. Furthermore we use environmentally friendly transport routes and try to purchase our ingredients as locally as possible.
On top of all that, we support our consumers striving for a balanced nutrition: By using our unsweetened or sugar-reduced products, they can easily reduce their sugar consumption.
What new products can we expect from you in 2018/2019?
We are always working on innovations and assortment expansions. For 2019 we are also planning new products, but more cannot be disclosed at the moment.
From your point of view, what are the latest trends in the market segment of plant-based alternatives to dairy products?
On the one hand there are the sugar-free or sugar-reduced products, meeting the wish for a balanced nutrition, like the Alpro Plain Unsweetened alternative to yoghurt. On the other hand there is a growing demand for variety in taste which we meet with our broad product range, including drinks made of almond, oat, coconut, rice and different types of nuts. This way plant-based eating can bring a tasty and inspiring variety to the plate.
What goals have Alpro set themselves for the next 5 years?
Alpro is the European pioneer of plant-based food for nearly 40 years, creating a broad choice of delicious plant-based drinks, alternatives to yoghurt and cream, desserts, margarines and ice cream. At Alpro, we strive to make plant-based a choice for absolutely everyone, ensuring that shoppers have easy access to plant-based products through all retail formats, and proving them with the first-class innovations in plant-based food and drink. Our mission is to change the way the world eats for the better by creating delicious, naturally healthy plant-based foods, for the maximum wellbeing of everyone and with the utmost respect for our planet. This ambition includes commitment to source our ingredients sustainably, protect water cycles, build the circular economy of packaging, while working to become a zero-net carbon company; always in collaboration with local communities.
We have already achieved success: built on firm foundations of sustainability and product quality, Alpro has championed plant-based eating from its original niche in ‘free from’ through to today’s position as part of a balanced nutrition.