Danone’s Silk brand thinks it knows what’s “Next” in milk

A new line formulated to taste more like dairy is meant to break entrenched habits and draw in traditional milk buyers.


Danone is launching plant-based Nextmilk under its Silk Canada brand, part of an ongoing aim to overcome reluctance to trial plant-based beverages.


With ample competition from both dairy and plant-based, for Nextmilk, Danone claims it engaged its dairy experts to deconstruct the classic dairy experience and design a specially formulated product that met dairy-lovers’ taste expectations.

This includes analysis of milk’s molecular composition and sensory experience to develop a plant-based product that mimics the flavour profile and mouthfeel of dairy.

Jeremy Oxley, SVP of marketing at Danone Canada, tells strategy, informed by Nielsen/BMO insights, that there’s a huge opportunity to bring in reluctant dairy drinkers and help close the gap between traditional dairy drinking and plant-based beverage household penetration. Currently, 94% of households buy traditional dairy, while 40% of households buy plant-based beverages.

Oxley points out that this means is an overlap in household penetration – as 34.5% of consumers have both dairy and plant-based options in their fridge, according to its insights.

Meanwhile, during lockdowns, consumers have been adding more plant-based options to their diet, and Oxley cites Sklar Wilton research that 50% of Canadians think it is important to eat more plant-based foods.

Despite all the category momentum, however, he concedes that 60% of Canadians are reluctant to try plant-based beverages as they feel the taste differs too much from the products they’re used to, but Oxley is hopeful that Nextmilk delivers on the key taste and texture attributes people crave.

Key on-pack callouts, Oxley says, are “Plant based has never tasted so good,” plus it’s calcium and vitamin D nutrition claims.

The brand is launching creative in mid-June by Lg2 and Wavemaker on the buy side, Carl as the social and influencer agency, and National as the PR shop. It will be activated through a 360 campaign with a mix of traditional and digital channels including TV ads, online dieo, social, billboards and digital OOH, high impact banner displays bought through Canadian and most trafficked premium websites, a YouTube masthead takeover, contextual print ads and dossier partnership with Quebec based food brand, Ricardo.

In addition, there will be PR events, point-of-sale displays and experiential sampling in Toronto and Montreal,  including Festival de Jazz in Montreal, as well as guerilla marketing in parks and in front of grocery stores.  

Danone worked with Pigeon as the packaging agency, LPI as the in-store agency and Agence 360 as the experiential agency.