“New product developments are invigorating drinking milk products,” according to Euromonitor Ireland, with artisanal and premium choices across the dairy sector appealing to consumers’ increasingly sophisticated tastes
30 March 2020 | 0
Irish dairy is world-class, thanks to a combination of Ireland’s cool climate, generations of tradition and robust regulations governing animal welfare, production techniques and transportation. Among Irish people, tourists and foreign populations alike, Irish dairy is seen as an irreplaceable and irresistible part of Irish culture.
Of course, this does not mean there is no room for evolution and innovation in the industry, however. Competition between brands and increased demand for healthier options combined with the ongoing issue of Brexit, mean that the leading brands have had to diversify their offering to meet consumers’ needs.
Q&A with… Tim Ryan, head of marketing, Glanbia Consumer Foods
Q: Avonmore offers a diverse range of milks. Why has the company specialised to this extent?
A: At Avonmore, we believe in the power of dairy nutrition and for almost 20 years now, Glanbia has invested in the development of the milk category through a range of value-added products. When you think about it, milk is a category that a significant number of consumers buy so the convenience element of getting all your daily vitamin D in a glass of Super Milk for instance really resonates.
Q: Across the dairy category, how has Avonmore catered to consumers seeking both indulgence and those who are calorie-conscious?
A: We constantly talk to our customers and undertake a significant amount of research. We’ve found that calories don’t really form a large part of the conversation as consumers are looking for good sources of nutrition. The trend in recent years has been around a move to full fat milk, especially for those who are catering to a family. We do offer a range of products of course; our Super Milk and Slimline brands both offer fat free options. As far as indulgence goes, well I’m biased, but a glass of Avonmore whole Super Milk does it for me!
Q: Kilmeaden Cheese’s portfolio includes several format options. Convenience is obviously a key factor here; how significantly has this variety driven sales?
A: I think cheese is the ultimate snack; don’t we all love a bit of cheese out of the fridge on occasion when we are grazing! We have a wide range of formats across Kilmeaden and will be announcing some new innovations soon which we are excited about on a number of levels. If you think about how we snack throughout the day, cheese might not be what always comes to mind, unless of course you work in Glanbia and then you are never too far from a bit of cheese! Our hand-cut slices range is really popular with consumers using it from snacking to a convenient way of making a tasty toastie. Of course, our range of blocks are still very popular and staple formats like slices, grated and sandwich slices are adding tremendous value to the category.
Q: Is the growing popularity of vegan products a concern for the dairy category?
A: Like any competitor, non-dairy products are of course a head wind, but I believe that consumers are still getting to know these products and finding a role for them in their diets. I believe that nutrition and taste will continue to be important to consumers and of course, natural is a big point of conversation as well. We are still seeing good growth in our value-added products ahead of the market, so for the moment we will continue to learn from consumers about their changing diets.
Q: How significantly will Avonmore invest in marketing over the next 12 months?
A: We will continue to support our key strategic priorities over the next year. Our flagship brand Avonmore Super Milk is set for another great year with a new creative platform and TV campaign going into production in the coming weeks. The re-launch of Mooju at the end of 2019 is working well and will be supported pre-dominantly through shopper and digital/social in 2020. Our Avonmore Protein Milk brand has a very exciting year of innovation ahead with several new variants on the way and will be supported by a mix of social and experiential. 2019 was a significant year for Avonmore Protein Milk with the successful launch of our Gold variant which is producing some great results.
Q: Sustainability is a growing concern for many consumers; how does Avonmore ensure packaging is environmentally friendly?
A: There is no doubt that sustainability is a huge topic for consumers. All our milk packaging is recyclable. A number of years ago, we invested in a new 1L carton across our range which is designed with easy fold lines which makes it easier to fold, which in turn doesn’t take up as much space in consumers’ recycling bins. Like everyone we are on a journey and will continue to innovate to meet the changing needs of consumers.
Avonmore is delighted to welcome its newest member to the family; Strawberry Protein Milk (500ml). This great-tasting, fresh, strawberry-flavoured milk is packed with 27g of protein; perfect for those who engage in regular exercise. Protein supports the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
The Strawberry flavour is available now, retailing at €1.39 RRP.
Irish Yogurts Clonakilty’s range of fridge-friendly 1kg natural yogurts, are available in a Whole Milk Natural Live Yogurt and a Low Fat Greek Style Natural Live Yogurt. The innovative tub design allows for a large product to be placed on the fridge door, saving space on the inner fridge shelves.
These yogurts are made from all-natural ingredients, are high in protein, a source of calcium and contain no added sugar. With much focus being placed on healthy eating, these are ideal for eating as a plain yogurt, in smoothies, for breakfast bowls with added fresh fruit, and for home baking and cooking.
In the modern world, with much focus being placed on sustainability, the tubs are widely recyclable.
Irish Yogurts Clonakilty has been producing the highest quality yogurt in Clonakilty, in the heart of West Cork, a globally known food producing hub. The brand’s churn-style technology is unique to Irish Yogurts, where the yogurt is given characteristics such as smooth, creamy body and texture, and greater mouthfeel. Quality and taste are paramount to enhance the customer experience, says Irish Yogurts, confident that every product and every spoonful within its range, gives that mouth-watering experience.
For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.irish-yogurts.ie.
Connacht Gold Hot Cross Bun Day is back on Thursday, 9 April 2020. For four years, Connacht Gold has been out and about treating the nation to Connacht Gold Half Fat butter smeared on fresh hot cross buns.
As real butter continues to regain popularity, Connacht Gold Half Fat butter delivers on taste with half the fat. A Blas na hÉireann and Great Taste Award-winning butter, it contains no vegetable oils or chemically treated fats, only the delicious natural taste of butter, and all the health benefits of half the fat.
Samples of Connacht Gold buttery goodness will be handed out at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre this year, with more than 6,000 samples scoffed by butter loving passers-by in Dublin and Galway last year.
Not leaving anyone out, online fans can join a week-long pun-filled competition in the hope of claiming a hamper of fresh hot cross buns and Connacht Gold Half Fat butter delivered to their front door. Follow the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #ConnachtGoldHotCrossBunDay.
Planting one million trees
For over 30 years, Glenisk, ‘the Good Yogurt’, has been producing premium and organic Irish milk and yogurt from its Co. Offaly base, and currently produces over 120 million servings of yogurt per year.
Glenisk recently announced details of its partnership with development charity, Self Help Africa and their joint pledge to plant over one million trees in 2020. The campaign will include the planting of 100,000 native trees in Ireland and one million trees in sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to fight the growing threat of climate change.
Planting trees is a useful, practical solution and a vital step in saving our planet. In Africa, native trees will provide food, shelter and income for families and communities, helping those most affected by, but least responsible for, climate change.
The campaign will be supported across Glenisk’s Bio Organic Yogurt range with new packaging launching this month. SuperValu, with 223 stores nationwide, will act as the exclusive retail partner to the campaign, working with Glenisk to support in-store fundraising promotions throughout the year.
The public can get involved by donating €5 to Self Help Africa, which will result in one tree being planted in Ireland and 10 planted in Africa. See selfhelpafrica.org/OneMillionTrees to pledge support. For more information, visit www.glenisk.com #OneMillionTrees.
Focused on simplicity and sustainability
Danone Dairy Ireland has introduced a new yogurt range, Danone Yogurt, the brand’s biggest launch in three years. The new Danone branded range has been developed in conjunction with families to reflect the simplicity they are seeking in a world where they have more choice than ever. The new range caters to increasing calls from Irish shoppers for food brands to create simple, sustainable, great-tasting products that align with their personal, health and family values.
The new Danone Yogurt range has something to cater for everyone in the family with simple recognisable ingredients, no added sugar or sweeteners and in 100% recyclable pots. Danone Ireland has invested €1 million into the launch, with activations across video on demand, out of home, sampling, shopper, and point of sale alongside a social and public relations strategy to introduce the product range effectively to Irish families.
The new Danone Yogurt range uses ingredients that consumers will recognise: just milk, live cultures and a fruit and veg layer*, all with no added sugar or sweeteners**. It includes formats for the whole family, including single pots, family sharing pots, multipacks and kids’ pouches. Flavour combinations include: Strawberry & Blood Orange, Peach & ginger, Peach & Raspberry, Mango Carrot & Banana, Strawberry and plain Natural Yogurt.
“For Danone, doing good is about more than just making delicious yogurts with no added sugar**,” says Rachel Doyle, Danone Ireland head of marketing. “It’s about doing our bit for families, our communities and our planet. That’s why our new range focuses on ‘Simply What Matters’ and caters for all the important daily family moments, which we know help to build sustainable eating habits. It’s also why our pots and cardboard are 100% recyclable, helping families who are working to make better decisions when it comes to packaging.”
Danone has held its belief in simplicity for over 100 years, since it was founded in 1919, and the company wants to continue to have a positive impact long into the future. Danone’s work as a force for good was recognised in 2017 with a certification as a B Corporation***. The brand wants to make recycling simple – something the whole family can participate in – so is using clear on-pack recycling labels (OPRL) and all pots and cardboard are 100% recyclable****.
*(The plain natural yogurt does not contain fruit layer. The kid’s pouches are blended with fruit purée)
**(Contains naturally occurring sugars)
***(Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. B Corps work toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment and stronger communities. (https://bcorporation.net)
****(Kids’ pouches are not currently recyclable through curb-side collections. Danone is working to make the pouches widely recyclable, but in the meantime has partnered with Terracycle – a scheme families can participate in to recycle the kids’ pouches. This is just one part of Danone’s ongoing commitment to discover and implement solutions that drive sustainability)
Delivering innovation and sustainability
Strathroy’s commitment to innovation and developing sustainable packaging has led to a significant reduction in the amount of plastic used in jars and new designs that benefit retailers and customers.
As Ireland’s oldest family dairy, Strathroy has consistently innovated and invested to bring choice, quality and value to Irish households.
As sales director Phelim McCarron points out: “We have been producing our own 2-litre jars for over ten years. These use over 20% less plastic than those we previously used, a saving of over 6.5 tonnes of plastic every week.
“By comparison,” he adds, “currently there are 2-litre jars on sale containing almost 35% more plastic than the Strathroy produced jar. You really have to consider if this is sustainable given the carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions and the higher energy used in production.”
Due to demand from retailers and consumers, Strathroy recently redesigned the 3-litre jar, and began manufacturing these in-house. Once again, the new jar uses over 20% less plastic than the previous model. The new design also increases the number of jars per trolley, from 56 to 64, so reduces transport costs and emissions by over 14%.
“For the retailer,” continues McCarron, “this innovation offers significant savings in in-store chilling, staff costs, etc. It also helps retailers achieve their plastic reduction targets.” Strathroy also now produces electricity and heat for its production plant using an anaerobic digester which uses grass grown in the surrounding fields as its energy source.
Products in the Strathroy stable including Protein Milk and Mega Milk have proved popular. “Our new Protein Milk has been widely welcomed by teams and athletes as a refreshing and nutritious sports drink for recovery,” says McCarron. “Likewise, Mega Milk offers additional nutrients as part of the daily dairy intake.”
“These innovations underline our proactive approach in lowering GHG emissions,” he continues, “and demonstrates clearly Strathroy’s ethos and corporate social responsibility alongside our commitment to quality, choice and value for our customers.”
High protein and great taste
Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg, the great-tasting, high protein dairy product from Sweden, continues to grow in the UK and Ireland, and is now available in six great flavours – Raspberry, Vanilla, Peach & Passion Fruit, Blueberry & Vanilla, Coconut and Stracciatella.
Kvarg is Swedish for quark. Successfully launched in the UK and Ireland and the number one quark in Sweden*, the Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg range has an appealing, creamy texture – similar to Greek yoghurt – created to help consumers lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle**.
Whether for a long-time gym-goer or those just starting out on a healthy flex, Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg is the perfect partner for any customer’s regular workout.
Containing 17g of protein per pot, Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg single pots are also low sugar and fat-free*** and a great addition to a pre or post-workout meal plan. Delicious mixed with berries, fruit or granola, Nestle Lindahls Kvarg pots can be found in the chilled yogurts aisle nationwide.
*(Source: In value sales of the total Quark segment – Nielsen 2018)
**(Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass. It is important to have a varied diet as part of a healthy lifestyle)
***(Stracciatella is low sugar and low fat)
Showcasing dairy excellence
The National Dairy Council (NDC) has launched a new out-of-home billboard advertising campaign celebrating Irish dairy farmers and their grass-fed Irish cows working together to sustainably produce top quality milk and dairy products.
The campaign highlights how in Ireland our green countryside is an incredible asset and provides us with a unique grass-based farming system. This, paired with the expertise and the commitment of individual farmers and their families are vital ingredients in the success of Irish dairy – here at home and abroad.
While the positive credentials of Irish dairy are longstanding and plentiful, the gap between food origin and the consumer is growing. At the same time, consumers are demanding natural sustainably produced food – transparency, authenticity, taking responsibility for your health and your environmental impact.
Ireland’s dairy sector has an opportunity to reconnect consumers with natural food production and showcase that in Ireland our unique grass-based system, coupled with our family farming system, is what really sets Ireland apart.
The NDC first revealed the campaign showcasing dairy farming excellence in a national outdoor campaign in December 2019, with a second burst in January 2020.
For the outdoor billboards, the NDC specifically looked for placements that would focus on high impact. Giant images of Irish cows grazing freely on green pastures appeared on outdoor billboards across the country. To ensure a volume of traffic, the association targeted main arterial ways/motorways and secured large format premium roadside billboards.
‘Green grass, family-owned farms, top quality milk’ stated across a billboard, aims to connect consumers with the model of dairy farming in Ireland, joining the dots between quality farming and quality food. The farmer, the animals and the land; all work in harmony to produce quality milk.
In urban areas, the NDC also included advertisements at bus stops which informed consumers that ‘Approximately 99% of water used in Irish dairy farms is supplied naturally by rainfall’.
This campaign celebrates what is truly special about Ireland – our unique way of farming coupled with the passion of our dairy farmers to produce high-quality dairy products. It is no surprise why people at home and abroad simply #LoveIrishDairy.
‘Everything starts with milk’
Ensuring 2020 starts with that all-important health kick, professional rugby 7’s star and Love Island winner, Greg O’Shea, has joined forces with one of Ireland’s top female boxers, Kellie Harrington, to support the second year of the ‘Everything starts with milk’ initiative, a European Milk Forum campaign focused on encouraging Irish consumers to drink more quality milk from Europe.
O’Shea and Harrington announced their roles as ambassadors at an ‘Everything starts with milk’ training day that took place at University College Dublin, which saw boxing club, Fingal CC Dublin, a rugby team from Dublin’s Kings Hospital School and one hockey team from Saint Aloysius College, Co Cork, win the chance to train with the stars, as well as several members of the Irish Women’s hockey team who were also in attendance to support the campaign.
The pan-European campaign – supported locally by O’Shea and Harrington – is being implemented by the National Dairy Council in Ireland to highlight the importance of milk as an important dietary building block at all stages of life, from childhood growth and development to post-workout recovery.
The perfect post-performance recovery drink, milk is rich in protein – an important nutrient for muscle growth and maintenance – and provides a natural carbohydrate source to help refuel energy stores. A glass of milk offers an abundance of electrolytes in a fluid form to assist rehydration and provides a number of vitamins and minerals with important roles for health including calcium, phosphorous, and potassium to support bone health, iodine to contribute to normal cognitive brain function, vitamin B2 to assist with energy release, and vitamin B12 to support normal functioning of the immune system*.
Speaking about the launch of year two of the ‘Everything starts with milk’ campaign, Jeanne Spillane, marketing manager at the National Dairy Council said: “We are looking forward to working alongside both Greg and Kellie this year to develop engaging content, activities and appearances that will highlight why dairy milk is a great choice post-exercise.”
*(Source: Research conducted by the National Dairy Council in Ireland)