‘Criminally creamy’: WhatIF Foods’ first commercial Bambara groundnut milk seeks to shake up market with dairy-like properties

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

WhatIF Foods is gearing up for the launch of its Bambara groundnut (BamNut) milk this month. ©WhatIF Foods
WhatIF Foods is gearing up for the launch of its Bambara groundnut (BamNut) milk this month. ©WhatIF Foods

Related tags bambara groundnut plant-based dairy

Singapore-based WhatIF Foods recently launched its first Bambara groundnut (BamNut) milk into the market, and is confident that its R&D has produced products capable of standing out whether in terms of creamy mouthfeel or dairy-like functionality.

According to WhatIF Foods Founder and CEO Christoph Langwallner, the natural creaminess of BamNut milk – on par with that of fresh dairy milk - brings with it a lot of advantages over most other plant-based options, which generally often suffer from a ‘watery’ mouthfeel.

“A lot of research, science and technology has gone into the BamNut milk production to make it as suitable for commercialisation as it is now, mostly around the areas of solving challenges to meet consumer needs,”​ Langwallner told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“For instance, consumers should be experiencing the crop in its ripe form so that it has a nice palatability whereas if picked early there might be a green note in the taste – so one thing we have done is to remove this possibility and ensure only the slightly nutty flavour of a mature, ripe nut is brought to consumers.

“The other thing has been the tech to create a composition that is nice and creamy to reach that mouthfeel that consumers want, as well as to bring out the natural sweetness of the nuts so there is that hint of sweetness even though we’re launching an unsweetened variant first; and also to make the product ambient stable before opening.”

Importantly, the milk is also able to provide some functionalities that most plant-based milk variants cannot, giving consumers the full all-rounded milk experience.

“We’ve done some tests on the milk and it has the ability to froth and foam just like regular dairy milk which is not commonly found – it is criminally creamy, and both its mouthfeel and functionality means that it can be used in multiple ways from coffee to baking to curries and more,”​ said Langwallner.

Bambara groundnuts also hold the distinction of being more sustainable that most other nuts in the market as it is a regenerative crop​ which can naturally revive the land it is planted in by fixing nitrogen around its roots to improve the soil conditions and microbiome.

Launch campaign

The BamNut milks were officially this month via the firm’s online store, and in an effort to steer away from ‘boring buy-one-free-one’ campaigns, Langwallner’s team conceptualised a ‘pay-it-forward’ campaign to promote and market the product.

“Basically the idea is that consumers can buy one litre of the BamNut milk and then have the option to pay forward another one-litre pack of BamNut milk to a friend – all we ask is for help with the last mile costs of some S$3 (US$2.27), the milk itself is free of charge,”​ he said.

“We see this campaign as a good new way for consumers to reach out to and reconnect with a friend, especially during COVID-19 when people may not have met for a long time.”

A one-litre pack of BamNut milk will retail for S$5.90 (US$4.46) in Singapore, where it will first be made available via the firm’s e-store and will also enter major supermarkets and retail outlets later in the year. The initial launch will see only the unsweetened flavour enter the market.

Next stop, world

Although BamNut milk will first be launched in Singapore, Langwallner added that the firm has much further plans for it, looking far beyond its home base of operations.

“We’re starting in Singapore, but the next market for this will be Malaysia, especially as we’re actually manufacturing in Malaysia – that should happen later this year,”​ he said.

“In addition, there’s been some traction in Hong Kong and Taiwan for this, as well as some other parts of Asia – there’s been early traction as far as the US and Europe too, though that will be further down the line due to there being some different regulations over in those markets.”

Langwallner also stressed that the BamNut milk is only the first of a host of related products to come as the firm looks to maximise the potential of the crop.

“There will also be a whole portfolio of BamNut milk-based products on the way, perhaps some three to four months down the line. I can’t reveal these just yet, but they will be little soldiers to the hero that is BamNut milk,”​ he said.

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