How Mousline mash plans to relaunch… especially thanks to restaurants

The famous purée in a sachet was bought by a French investment fund, which wants to relaunch the brand.

It’s time for a revival for Mousline mash. Swiss food giant Nestlé recently parted ways with the famous pouch mash. The brand, which will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary in 2023, was taken over by the French investment fund FNB Private Equity, specializing in SMEs in the agri-food sector.

The new majority shareholder shows his ambitions: the Picardy SME today achieves 80 million euros in annual turnover and “we want to increase to 100 million euros within three years”, affirmed the new leader of Mousline and former managing director of Nestlé Waters Benelux, Philippe Fardel, during a press conference.

“The brand has lost 15% of turnover in ten years,” said Philippe Fardel, convinced of the growth potential.

Abandoned by Nestlé, Mousline fell asleep. To find a new youth, the company relies on restaurants. It already generates 20% of its turnover from catering and canteens, thanks to packaging adapted to professionals in the sector, and intends to increase to 30%. The objective is to offer a basic “bistro product”, especially for places that offer daily specials, which could be appropriated by adding other ingredients, such as butter or parsley, specified Philippe Fardel. Especially since the restaurateurs “lack of manpower”… and that peeling the potatoes requires a lot of time.

No “premiumization”

Mousline does not forget the supermarkets, its core target: the brand, which no longer has any national brand competitors, occupies 70% in value of the market for dehydrated purees. Pouch mash, sometimes a victim of its contrary image to “homemade”, wants to stick to the new expectations of consumers; the flavorings have already been removed in 2020, and the emulsifier will disappear by 2024, leaving only three ingredients in the plain version, which represents the majority of the volumes sold. In addition to the work on the recipes, or some innovations, it is also a new communication campaign that will be deployed. The last dates back to 2018.

“We are not ashamed of being a family and economical product”, assured Philippe Fardel, who assures that there will be no strategy of “premiumization” of the brand.

An inexpensive product, but which should see its price increase on the shelves. No price increase has been requested from large retailers since the spring, but the new management believes that it is no longer possible to ignore it. “We are talking about 20%” of price increases necessary to move to mass distribution, noted the new manager of the company. Around 20,000 tonnes of potato flakes leave the Picardy factory each year, including nearly 12,000 tonnes allocated to France. Between 13 and 20 million euros will be invested in its only factory in Rosières-en-Santerre, in the Somme, over the next three years.

Jeremy Bruno BFMTV journalist

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