Barb Ruhs_Brands_Mariani_1000

Mariani™: Cracking the Nut Milk Market

November 14, 2018

The Ask: To leverage robust consumer interest in plant milks and strategize a new product launch

The Challenge: Lack of consumer awareness of walnut milk and its differentiation from other plant milks

The Solution: To provide support for product labeling and develop a consumer education plan

The Approach: To promote health-based messages on packaging and leverage Supermarket RDs as consumer influencers

By now, nearly everyone has heard of almond milk, the rising star of the plant-milk world. But walnut milk? To many consumers, a walnut is just that nugget in their brownie, when in fact a walnut is a nutritional powerhouse and an ideal addition to a plant-based diet. 33% of U.S. households have now tried a plant-based milk, and Mariani Family Orchards™ wanted to grab a share of this $10 billion market by letting alt-milk lovers know that walnut milk is a new option with an amazing health profile.

As a widely trusted source of information on special diets and the foods that promote health, Retail RDs are an ideal route for introducing unfamiliar new health products. [read more] Retail RDs know that consumers choose plant-based milks for health, environmental and ethical concerns. Mariani™ called on my expertise to help Retail RDs discover and understand walnut milk, how it can support special diets and, especially, how its nutritional strengths distinguish it from other lactose-free and vegan milk options. My RDs, in turn, were able to confidently recommend and promote WalnutMilk™ to those who choose or need plant-based milk.

To help WalnutMilk™ find a well-deserved demand, I:

  • Served as the Nutrition Expert for the WalnutMilk™ product launch
  • Developed an educational strategy for using RDs to introduce plant-based milk at retail partners
  • Provided nutrition regulatory support for product labeling to highlight key features (ALA-Omega-3-Fats; Plant-Based)
  • Spearheaded business development with Retail RD Partners

Many deserving health products launch, fizzle and end up on clearance. Mariani™ allowed me and a host of Retail RDs to smooth the way, making the key introductions to curious consumers. Their star is now rising….so look out, almond milk!

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Changemaker Barbara Ruhs, MS, RDN, is transforming public health by re-envisioning the way food is understood and promoted. A seasoned supermarket dietitian and former Harvard nutritionist, Barb leads the way by offering innovative retail solutions that forge connections between food marketers, market RDs and consumers hungry for truth.


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