Innocent nut milks

Innocent’s new dairy alternatives range will come in three variants: almond, hazelnut and oat

Innocent is set to challenge Alpro’s dominance of the dairy alternative drinks category with the launch of a trio of nut and oat ’milks’.

The result of more than a year’s development, Almond, Hazelnut and Oat variants will launch next month - backed by a £4m spend in a concerted effort to tap the plant-based trend.

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The new lineup will roll out in a fully recyclable plastic bottle made with at least 30% recycled PET (rsp: £1.99/750ml). The drinks contain only their main ingredient, spring water and salt - although the Hazelnut variant also used organic rice to create the thickness consumers had come to expect, Innocent said.

This would set them apart from market leader Alpro, whose equivalent products contained stabilisers and were packaged in Tetra Pak, it added.

“We set ourselves a huge challenge to produce a great tasting and great looking product in a PET bottle without using any artificial additives,” said Nick Canney, Innocent managing director for UK & Ireland. “We’re really proud of what we’ve produced.”

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Innocent had identified a “huge opportunity” to bring new shoppers into the dairy alternatives category and this was “just the beginning” for the brand, he added. “Lots of our drinkers want to see Innocent in this space, so it’s one of our top priorities for 2018.”

The new range is Innocent’s first to “go beyond refreshment” by also being suitable as an ingredient or for adding to hot beverages. Usage occasions are clearly illustrated on pack. The drinks will be available from 1 April in Waitrose and Ocado, before rolling out to Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Last year, Innocent passed Tropicana to become the UK’s top juices and smoothies brand, with value sales up 10.5% to £233.9m [Nielsen 52 w/e 9 September 2017].

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