HIt takes a long time to think over pieces. "I am now 35 years at Nestlé. Over the years, however, I have rarely experienced such dynamics in a single product, "says the manager from the board of the German national company of the world's largest food manufacturer. "Maybe with the 5-minute terrine or the Nescafé cappuccino."
What Pie has in mind is the "Incredible Burger" from Nestlé's Garden Gourmet brand. It looks and tastes like a classic burger patty, but is made entirely from vegetable ingredients. The company has sold five million units in the past three months alone.
This makes the "Incredible Burger" the number one in this segment in Germany, reports Nestlé. "With twice as high sales in food retail as the first pursuer."
There are now some persecutors. There are for example Beyond Meat from the USA and the discounters Aldi and Lidl with products of their own brands, the "Wonder Burger" and the "Next Level Burger".
Because the hype around the meat replacement burger is huge. The market researchers at the GfK Group estimate the market for burger patties in Germany at around € 48 million, and the vegetarian variant alone accounts for € 8 million.
This corresponds to a market share of almost 17 percent. Sales have jumped especially in the past three months. The market researchers from IRI see the market from May to July with a handsome 33 percent in the plus.
Hack "meat" has the greatest potential
Nestlé therefore wants to expand its meatless meat business. "We have a long list of products that we want to introduce," said Germany boss Marc-Aurel Boersch at Media Day of the billion-dollar group in Frankfurt.
It starts in October with hack. The product looks like raw minced meat, tastes just as hearty-juicy and can also be shaped and prepared, the company advertises. Nevertheless, no gram of meat was processed in it.
Instead, the "Incredible Hack" consists predominantly of soy, blended with, among others, pepper, carrot, beetroot, onion powder, salt, pepper and oils.
That the choice fell on Hack first, is no coincidence. "Hack is used in a variety of dishes and is therefore much more common than a burger patty – be it meatballs, bolognese sauce, lasagne or chilli con carne," explains Hubert Stücke, Managing Director of the Garden Gourmet brand.
Especially families buy vegan products
In fact, the market is nearly 20 times larger than the GfK figures show – which also multiplies the business potential for Nestlé. In any case, Pieces expects Garden Gourmet to increase its sales by 50 percent in the current year, and to even double it by 2020.
The target group for Hack and Burger are above all families. "We are currently seeing that households with children are particularly interested in vegan products," says Manager Stück. The pressure comes mainly from the children, who, not least at the touch of the movement "Fridays for Future" insist on a nutrition that is environmentally friendly.
The meatless meat reduces the CO2-Execution by 80 percent compared to the classic variant of the animal and consume significantly less water and land.
Nestlé therefore expects sustainable development – unlike the first meatless hype just a few years ago. At that time, the sales figures of especially vegetarian sausage had rocketed massively, but then crashed again.
"Household penetration has even gone down slightly over the past two years," says Christian Adams, Business Manager Garden Gourmet. That it could come this time differently, justifies Adams with the once again improved quality in terms of taste, appearance and texture – and thus speaks the head of the country Boersch from the heart.
"There's a new movement going on," says Boersch. "This is no longer just a product for woolstock wearers." He therefore announces large-scale investments and innovations. Nestlé wants to become the leading brand in this market.
New research institute for packaging
In any case, Nestlé wants to pay more attention to health and sustainability in the future. Among other things, this starts with the substitute meat and continues with sweets that should be less sweet.
"The goal is not to bring an alternative chocolate bar to the shelf, but to change the recipe of the original piece by piece," announces Boersch. Nestlé's brands include Kitkat, Smarties and Lion. Initially, however, smaller products from the category should be made.
Changes are already implemented at Yes. The brand known for cake bars gets an additional business area: so-called healthy snacks, ie healthy bars, either from nuts or fruit pulp, each with a significantly reduced sugar content compared to classic bars.
In addition, packaging is also on the Nestlé agenda. By 2025, all packaging should be reusable or at least recyclable. The new Yes bars, for example, are packed in paper instead of foil.
And even for the Nespresso capsules, which are currently made of aluminum, looks for alternatives. Nestlé has set up a research institute for packaging in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will open in September.
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