Successful players within Ireland’s diary sector have capitalised on consumers’ increasing demand for healthy products, by offering products with added nutritional benefits and stressing the natural goodness of their ranges
23 March 2016
AT A GLANCE: DAIRY
- Avonmore is Ireland’s leading dairy brand and is number one with 85% of Irish households
- Avonmore Freshly Whipped Cream is Ireland’s number one selling cream
- Connacht Gold Butter says it is performing well ahead of the yellow fats category and experiencing strong growth year-on-year. The total yellow fats category is experiencing a decline in value year-on-year, according to Nielsen Yellow Fats Data for 52 weeks to 27 December 2015
- The combined valuation of the block butter market in the UK and Ireland is worth in excess of €800 million euro annually
- Improper Butter is targeting millennials, who represent 15% of the population across the UK and Ireland. This equates to over 10 million consumers aged 18-35
- From 21 March, Müller is refreshing its core Fruit Corner and Crunch Corner range with a brand new recipe, packaging design and ad campaign
- National Dairy Council-commissioned research published in 2015 identifies quality and reputation as the foundation for the Irish dairy sector to expand, based on its innovative and premium milk-based produce
National Dairy Council research shows the Irish dairy sector’s hard-won reputation for quality is a key advantage for the sector which is resulting in exports success. This was most recently shown at France’s premier cheese and dairy event, the Salon du Fromage, held in Paris at the start of this month.
According to Noreen Lanigan, Bord Bia manager for France and Belgium, Ireland has the second largest non-French presence at the show and there has never been a better time to introduce French buyers to Irish farmhouse cheese. “French cheesemongers now stock on average 16 foreign cheeses from their total selection of 130, representing around 10% of their turnover,” says Lanigan. “According to new trade research*, over 30% of cheese shops intend to increase their range of imported cheese. This is already translating into a significant increase in Irish artisan cheese imports to France, which have trebled since our presence at the Salon two years ago and now amount to approximately 18 tonnes per year.”
This is undoubtedly a success story for the dairy sector, which continues to innovate with new value-added products.
*(Source: Research carried out by Salon du Fromage in advance of the show opening)
Number one with 85% of Irish households
As Ireland’s leading dairy brand, Avonmore products are enjoyed on a daily basis in households across Ireland. Be it breakfast, lunch, a quick snack or an evening meal, Avonmore plays a key part in many meal occasions through the day and commands leading positions in the many dairy and food categories in which the brand competes.
Avonmore’s value added milk range continues to lead the way in both brand development and innovation in the fresh milk category. “We have spent a number of years reframing milk for Irish consumers,” says Tim Ryan, head of marketing for milk at Glanbia Consumer Foods, adding that the range “provides key nutritional benefits for consumers of all ages and stages of life”. Avonmore’s Super Milk brand with its sunshine vitamin D story is now in its second year of a new campaign which launched in 2015. “Last year we created a new world for Avonmore Super Milk, a happy, confident expression of the brand which resonated with consumers and is continuing to drive growth. The campaign will continue in 2016 with a significant support plan led by TV advertising and sponsorship of the weather on RTÉ.
“Our launch in the protein space continues to grow, Avonmore Protein Milk is now used by a wide range of exercise enthusiasts as their milk brand, adds Ryan. “We think the convenient formats and 25g of high quality milk protein per 500ml plus the ease of use at breakfast or on-the go is a key driver.”
Avonmore has just launched its new campaign ‘In-session’, with two new brand ambassadors signed up to lend a hand. Avonmore says that the campaign is a call-out to everyone to remember that it’s the preparations that matter the most and the role of great nutrition.
Avonmore Cream is made locally in Ballytore, Co. Kildare from fresh Irish milk and boasts a very strong portfolio that caters to the nation’s sweet and savoury needs. The range includes the ever popular and versatile Fresh Cream, Fresh Dessert Cream which is luxuriously thick and convenient Freshly Whipped Cream which can be spooned directly over your favourite dessert. It’s not surprising therefore that it is not only Ireland’s favourite but also Ireland’s number one-selling cream.
Continuing to shine
Connacht Gold Butter is performing well ahead of the category and is experiencing strong growth year-on-year. This growth is a big endorsement for the brand, considering the total yellow fats category is experiencing a decline in value year-on-year, according to Nielsen Yellow Fats Data for 52 weeks to 27 December 2015.
Connacht Gold has invested in its brand through an integrated ‘real butter’ campaign over the past three years, with busy mum, business woman and popular blogger, Pippa O’Connor signed up as campaign ambassador for Connacht Gold’s most recent #lovethetaste campaign. “Healthy eating is very important for me and my family, and Connacht Gold’s Low Fat butter means we don’t have to compromise on taste to enjoy real butter with less calories. It is a natural product, with half the fat and no vegetable oils or chemically-treated fats,” O’Connor commented.
Connacht Gold Low Fat, Softer, Spreadable and Unsalted butters all continued to perform particularly well throughout 2015, while on its milk range, the brand introduced a new 500ml Protein Milk product – with 25g protein in every bottle.
Targeting health-conscious millennials
Improper Butter announced the launch of a Grass-Fed Irish Butter with Finely Milled Organic Irish Sea Salt this month. The product will be hand-wrapped and packed in the Improper Butter trademarked box. By carefully sourcing a finely milled organic Irish Sea salt from Irish company Oriel, the company says this product will contain less salt than industry standard, while maintaining a clean, delicately balanced flavour.
With a shift in trend in the consumption of natural fats, Improper Butter sees millennials as the obvious target market for this product – a health and trend conscious demographic with significant disposable income and influence.
The combined valuation of the block butter market in the UK and Ireland is in excess of €800 million euro annually. Millennials represent 15% of the population across the UK and Ireland. This equates to over 10 million consumers aged 18-35.
“Improper Butter is resonating through transparency, credibility and provenance, three highly sought out core values of the millennial customer. The brands that millennials embrace now can often be brands that they will carry with them for the foreseeable future,” says co-founder of Improper Butter, Hannah O’Reilly.
Improper Butter Grass-Fed Irish Butter with Finely Milled Organic Irish Sea Salt is ideal for cooking, baking or simply spreading on great bread.
From 21 March, Müller is refreshing its core Fruit Corner and Crunch Corner range with a brand new recipe, packaging design and ad campaign.
First up, the iconic Corner yogurt will get a thicker, creamier tasting, more Müllerlicious recipe makeover to better accompany what Müller describes as the tantalising fruit and crunch accompaniments.
Next comes a brighter, more vibrant packaging design across the entire core Fruit Corner and Crunch Corner range, depicting pots enjoyed at home or on-the-go, better communicating the Müllerlicious crunchy or fruity contents to dip or tip.
Finally a brand new ad campaign featuring brand ambassador and popstar Nicole Scherzinger will air across TV screens from April and run throughout the year to encourage consumers to try the new and improved Fruit Corner and Crunch Corner variants.
Müller Group CMO, Michael Inpong said: “We know consumers love Müller Corner but as a brand we must challenge ourselves to change and constantly improve to ensure we continue to bring customers and consumers what they want.
“We are delighted to refresh our number one brand, Müller Corner. The yogurt in our Crunch and Fruit Corner will get thicker, creamier tasting and even more Müllerlicious, while the packaging will ensure our product remains vibrant and eye-catching on shelf. And with Nicole on board and on TV screens in April, we expect this latest Müllerlicious makeover to be a huge hit with customers and consumers alike.”
The revamped Crunch Corner and Fruit Corner SKUs will be introduced to retailers from 21 March on a rolling basis. RRPs will remain the same.
In other exciting news Müller Yogurt & Desserts will kick off the Olympic year as Official Partner of Team Ireland with a whole host of new limited edition flavours across its Müller Corner, Müllerlight and Müller Rice brands.
Müller Group CMO, Michael Inpong, said: “It’s our aim to delight consumers and to create fantastic instore activations with our customers, working collaboratively to help ensure the growth of the category. Working with Team Ireland is a natural fit for us and gives us an excellent opportunity to underline our commitment and ambition as we look ahead to Rio 2016. Expect more on-pack activity in the coming months, along with exciting new TV ads coming soon.”
Irish dairy targets sustainable expansion
The removal of milk quotas in 2015 created an opportunity for a major increase in milk production in Ireland, the National Dairy Council (NDC) reports.
The Irish dairy industry is leveraging innovation to develop the potential of dairy-based products, especially in terms of life-stage nutrition. For example research is revealing a number of potential roles for milk and milk-based products in sports nutrition, particularly in relation to re-hydration and muscle recovery. Areas such as whey and infant formula have also been the subject of R&D.
Ireland has a number of sustainable advantages, especially our climate which favours a more efficient and environmentally friendly grass-based dairy farming system.
National Dairy Council-commissioned research published in 2015 identifies quality and reputation as the foundation for the sector to expand, based on its innovative and premium milk-based produce. Our hard-won reputation for excellence is the key to consumers’ trust in, and loyalty to, Irish dairy products.
We must not lose sight of the importance of the local market in Ireland and the core value of preserving the industry’s reputation at home. That well-established reputation for quality which Irish dairy enjoys with Irish consumers in the home market, is at the heart of our export success.
Irish dairy farmers and processors are justifiably proud of the nutritional values, sustainability and standards that we enjoy in Irish dairy products. But consumers need to hear the good news about Irish milk and dairy.
The NDC will continue to draw on evidence-based nutritional expertise to underpin communication with consumers and health professionals about the positive role that milk and dairy produce can play in our lives, throughout our different life stages; while promoting the key categories such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and cream.
Further information can be found at www.ndc.ie or by following the NDC on Facebook NDCIreland or Twitter @NDC_ie.
Q & A with…
Janet Moffett, client manager, Dunnhumby
- What are the key trends taking shape in the dairy category?
Customers are definitely more health conscious, especially with the constant reminders about sugar content and obesity. Consumers are moving into dairy alternatives like soya/almond/free-from products within dairy. This is a trend that we can see across many other categories as well. However, customers are still very value focused, especially across staples within the dairy category. There is evidence of customers becoming more adventurous, an example would be within speciality cheese, this sector is in growth with customers visiting the category more often and buying more year-on-year.
- How can brands engage with customers in-store to drive sales?
Brands with a holistic approach incorporating above the line media, in-store activations coupled with a strong promotional plan tend to perform better. Especially in a highly competitive market where consumers are not as loyal to brands as they used to be and can be easily swayed to switching brands depending on what is on promotion, it is very important that customers can shop the category easily and quickly. Clear signage is critical especially in the dairy category where consumers do not loiter for long, and it is a frequently shopped category. Brands need to stand out, this can be achieved by using POS such as aisle fins, mod dividers, shelf talkers and even floor graphics. It is important to take over the space with your brand, essentially brand blocking. Gondola ends are also an opportunity to attract extra sales and for dairy brands to own this space.
- Consumers are increasingly seeking nutrient-rich foods when it comes to the dairy sector, have you seen this behaviour impact in the dairy category ?
We have seen this trend overall in dairy but especially within the likes of yogurts and milk where there are added benefits to consuming nutrient-rich foods – extra protein, vitamins and calcium. Over the last few years, brands have been capitalising on the protein trend, with new protein products across many dairy segments, and essentially customers shopping protein enriched products tend to have other high protein products from across the store in their basket. Consumers are also going back to traditional products such as real butter, where over the last while, butter has experienced more customers visiting more often.
- What advice would you give retailers / buyers in order to further drive sales in this category?
Consumers expect strong promotions for the right products, and there needs to be adequate space for the fast moving lines, so that these products can be shopped easily to avoid off sales. Sufficient space also needs to be given to new product development so that the stores can capitalise on emerging trends. Brands are still very important to the Irish consumer, we like choice!