Back in the ‘70s, when WhiteWave first started out, our mission was to bring soy to the masses. The biggest issue we faced then wasn’t competition, it was getting people to embrace soy as an alternative to dairy. None of that has changed. We are pioneers, who created and are now evolving and growing the category. But growth doesn’t come without growing pains. Don’t get me wrong, the more plant and soy-based products people consume, the more proud we are of our work. It means that we’ve succeeded in helping people make better, healthier choices. But it also means we now have to compete with other companies.
It’s always been our goal to grow the soymilk category, but it’s also our goal to maintain our leadership position in the category, something we set in motion over 30 years ago, and we’re going to protect it. But this does raise an important question – did we make the right decision adding all-natural options to our Silk Soymilk portfolio?
The answer is simple. Maintaining that leadership position depends on increasing the access people have to our products. This means putting Silk products on more shelves in more stores. It also means making our products affordable. Sourcing US-based all-organic beans would have required increasing our prices. And increasing our prices, especially in this economy, would have made it hard for people to buy our soymilk. Not all our consumers, but some. More importantly, making Silk difficult to purchase would have prevented new people from choosing our product or even entering the marketplace at all.
It’s important to note that the all-natural Silk options are an addition to our portfolio. What does that mean? Well, Natural to us means our beans are NON-gmo and have no artifical colors or flavors. We also wanted to keep Silk sustainable, so we only source our soybeans in the U.S. We still offer organic versions of three of our most popular flavors, with our unsweetened soymilk now exclusively organic. It’s also worth noting that we sell more organic soymilk than all of our competitors combined, three times as much actually. Every soybean we source comes from here in the US. In the coming year, our products will carry the Non-GMO Project-verified seal, and soon people will have the ability to track the sources of the soybeans in their Silk products on our website.
Stay tuned to The Grazing Mind, as we’ll be taking a closer look in the next few weeks at our Silk products, the sources we carefully choose and the partnerships that will help us continue to be the number one brand of soymilk in the U.S.