The “Milchpilz”: a symbol of Waldner’s legacy in 1950s Germany

Milk has always played an important role for Waldner. The former company director Anton Waldner devised numerous strategies to promote their dairy business, one of which became a landmark in Wangen, Germany: the “Milchpilz” (Milk Mushroom).

For generations, the “Milchpilz” (Milk Mushroom) has been indispensable in Wangen im Allgäu, Germany – a mushroom-shaped sales kiosk for dairy products, featuring a white spotted red balloon silk roof. If you wanted to make plans or meet someone, especially during a time without cell phones, you were told, “Meet at seven o’clock at the Milchpilz,” and everyone knew what to do.

The “Milchpilz” was more than a sales kiosk — it became a landmark; a point of reference and an exhibition stand in Wangen. Waldner built nearly 50 of these dotted sales houses in the 1950s, exporting them to countries including Austria, Benelux, Italy, Switzerland and more. Remarkably, a Wangen mushroom even sprouted from the ground in ancient Greece!

As mushroom experts understand, the mushroom season is typically quite short; nonetheless, some of the Waldner milk mushrooms have survived to this day. For example, beautiful specimens can still be admired in the German cities of Wangen, Bregenz, Lindau, Regensburg or Borgolzhausen. This year, three of them will grace the grounds of Wangen in April during the State Garden Show "Landesgartenschau”.

A mushroom was born

In post-war Germany, milk and dairy products were meant to be brought closer to the population as an important part of a healthy diet. Waldner’s then director Anton Waldner saw an opportunity with his business idea to develop and market his own products for this purpose. As they say, one thing leads to another.

The Milk Mushroom came at the right time. The first milk kiosks and bars were created, and of course, Anton Waldner was full of enthusiasm. Complete milk bars and dairy restaurants were designed, built and equipped with furniture and everything that goes with it. This included refrigerators, ice cream machines, milk cups and even yogurt spoons. "Everything from one source" was a very successful business idea back then.

Three milk mushrooms will make a special appearance at the State Garden Show in Wangen im Allgäu this year.

So, how does one come up with a mushroom idea? Besides the director’s talent as an inexhaustible idea generator and organizational genius, he was also an excellent marketing expert (even if it wasn’t labeled as such back then). His new product intended to have a high level of recognition, ensure product hygiene and freshness and radiate it — a concept that made sense!

The mushroom form created an eye-catching and memorable appearance with a high signal character. As history proves, Waldner was once again ahead of his time. A glance at today's fast-food chains reveals a similar principle at work. For instance, McDonald's, founded in 1955, capitalized on this approach.

The press took notice of Waldner’s business idea: publications like “Stern” or “Der Erfolg” enthusiastically commented on the Milk Mushroom. Despite facing criticism from certain authorities responsible for approving the installation of the sales hut, the mushrooms remained popular.


For more information, please contact:

Ibrahim Elandaloussi
Waldner North America
Mariana Santos
SE10 Public Relations Support
(312) 623-4545

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