Jean-Paul Gaillard the boss of the Swiss coffee capsule maker Ethical Coffee Company (ECC) said recently that he expects sales of his coffee capsules to exceed those of Nespresso, owned by Nestlé Group, within three years, according to the newspaper Tribune de Genève.
Unlike Nespresso capsules the Nespresso-compatible ECC ones are biodegradable. According to ECC’s website their capsules, made from plant fibres, can be thrown into the organic waste bin and will biodegrade in around six months. This could give ECC a marketing edge over Nespresso.
The Valaisan Jean-Paul Gaillard’s business is based in Fribourg, Switzerland, only 30 minutes from his former employer and arch rival Nestlé in Vevey. Gaillard worked as CEO of Nespresso for around 10 years from 1988 and was responsible for designing and rolling out the Nespresso club concept, which made the brand a runaway success.
After leaving Nestlé and working as the boss of Movenpick Foods for a few years, he turned his attention to starting a rival coffee capsule business. Years of ups and downs followed as Nestlé’s lawyers worked hard to thwart his progress. Only now does it look like he might be winning the battle. Nestlé’s patents are expiring – in February 2015 their German patent ended.
There might however be a bigger battle looming around the corner as more and more new competitors spring up. Good news for ECC is good news for the others.
Video documenting the history of ECC