Nestle has picked Thailand as the first country to launch its new plant-based version of Milo chocolate malt beverage. The new RTD product is made of soy combined with the unique Milo malt flavor, to provide a nutritious plant-based alternative.
The new Milo Soy has strong nutritional values and it is now available in 180ml carton. It claims to contain 5g of protein, and high in calcium, vitamins and minerals. In addition, the carton packaging is recyclable and comes with a paper straw.
Chaiyong Sakulborrirug, Business Executive Officer – Dairy & Adult Nutrition of Nestle (Thai) Ltd. said, “Milo is a much-loved and iconic brand, so we are proud to offer this new soy version. Plant-based beverages are becoming increasingly popular in Thailand as consumers look to lessen their environment impact and take care of their health. We believe this launch will help create a positive trend towards plant-based alternatives.”
Nestle is focused on developing a wide variety of dairy alternatives made from pea, rice, oat, soy, coconut and almonds. Nestle’s R&D center in Singapore serves as the regional innovation hub for the development of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in Asia. The R&D team worked closely with Milo team in Thailand to deliver a unique taste profile led by soy milk blended with the Milo malt and using only plant-based ingredients.
Guglielmo Bonora, Head of Nestle’s R&D center in Singapore said, “We’re expanding our plant-based offerings with nutritious, tasty products that complement the everyday diet of people in Asia for many different meal occasions. We leverage our expertise in dairy proteins, nutrition science, plant sciences, as well as culinary arts to adapt the products to local preferences and needs.”
Nielsen data showed that although Thailand’s RTD milk market shrinked by 7.5% in 2021, its total market value remained relatively high at more than Bt 44 billion (US$1.32 billion), with soy milk contributing 30% to the market led by Lactasoy and Vitamilk. In fact, the soy drink market is 3 times bigger than that of chocolate malt beverages, which is worth only around Bt 4.5 billion (US$135.3 million) a year. As such, the new soy-based drink launch is timely.
GlobalData research also showed that over 40% of consumers in the Asia region are shifting to more plant-based diets, with 11% opting for vegetarian and vegan food, and a third moving to a ‘flexitarian’ diet that is lighter on meat and dairy products.