Delightful dairy

Ireland is the second biggest nation in Europe for milk consumption, according to recent research by the National Dairy Council (NDC), with 99% penetration. Impressively the average Irish household consumes 6.5 litres of milk a week, with milk, yogurt and cheese seeing a 2% annual growth. Gillian Hamill reports on the latest innovations within this important sector


Brand Central

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13 March 2018

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According to Euromonitor Ireland, various segments within the dairy category have grown during the year. Reports published in August 2017, show cheese in Ireland experienced current value growth of 4% during last year. Euromonitor finds growth was relatively similar to the previous year as demand for cheese continued to increase, but particularly for premium products which have seen their unit prices also increase. Consumer confidence has likewise improved with more disposable income in the economy. As a result, cheese, particularly premium cheese, is very popular amongst Irish consumers during the Christmas period when demand for cheese, chutney and crackers surges.

Cheese is predicted to increase at a value CAGR of 3% at constant 2017 prices over the forecast period to reach €259 million by 2022. Euromonitor also predicts growth in the category will likely be slower compared to the review period with cheese being a highly mature category. This growth is expected to be derived from volume sales as demand for cheese will continue. However, with private label penetration expected to continue rising, the overall average unit price of the category is likely to drop as mid-priced manufacturers try to become more competitive.

A separate Euromonitor report on ‘Yoghurt and Sour Milk Products in Ireland’, also published in August 2017, showed this segment grew by 2% in current value terms in 2017. This was a slight improvement on the review period with sales being driven by an increase in volume sales of low sugar yoghurts. There had been a backlash against some yoghurt brands in recent years due to their high sugar content and hidden sugars, most notably in varieties of low fat yoghurt. This led to an opportunity for the main brand owners to reformulate and relaunch new products into the category that are perceived as healthier.

Euromonitor predicts yoghurt and sour milk products will increase at a value CAGR of 1% at constant 2017 prices over the forecast period, which would be a slight improvement on the review period. With reformulations and new product developments in the category, growth is expected due to the continued focus on health and wellness with an increasing demand for products that contain protein, vitamin D and calcium in particular.

Euromonitor has also published a comprehensive study on ‘Drinking Milk Products in Ireland’ which shows these products grew by 3% in current value terms in 2017 to reach €543 million. Milk production in Ireland continued to be ramped up since the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 with a focus on the export market as opposed to an increase domestically. However, according to Euromonitor, this has allowed for further innovation within the category, particularly in the area of added value nutrition.

The report states the drinking milk products segment is expected to increase at a value CAGR of 1% at constant 2017 prices to reach €571 million in 2022. This predicted growth would be slightly slower compared to the CAGR seen over the review period. The penetration of private label products is expected to continue growing as consumers seek value and continue to do their weekly shopping in discounters, which they got into the habit of doing during the economic recession.

Make it mean more

Avonmore Butter is made with summer milk from Irish grass-fed cows 

Avonmore Butter is made with summer milk from Irish grass-fed cows

With Easter just around the corner, this is the perfect time of year for home bakers to practice their favourite recipes as well as new ideas. Avonmore Butter is a must-have fridge essential, so be sure to stock up ahead of the Easter weekend rush.

Coming from the number one Irish dairy supplier, Avonmore Butter is full of natural goodness and free from all additives. Made with summer milk from Irish grass-fed cows, Avonmore Butter is guaranteed to result in the most flavoursome breads, buns, cakes and crumbly pastries! Avonmore Butter continues its heart-warming above-the-line campaign ‘Make it Mean More’, illustrating how Avonmore Butter can make family mealtimes and everyday interactions mean more. This campaign features a sting for Avonmore’s sponsorship of RTÉ Weather, as well as shopper, social and digital support. Available in both salted and unsalted varieties, Avonmore Butter offers the perfect solution for all baking recipes – be sure to stock up today.

Innovation to the forefront

Avonmore Super Milk has been delivering year-on-year growth over the last number of years

Avonmore Super Milk has been delivering year-on-year growth over the last number of years

As Ireland’s most purchased consumer brand, Avonmore products are enjoyed on a daily basis in households across Ireland. Innovation is at the forefront of Avonmore’s strategy and its brands hold number one positions in several categories.

Avonmore Super Milk is a significant growth brand for the fresh milk category delivering year-on-year growth over the last number of years. A new advertising campaign ‘Our Weather’ was introduced last year encouraging consumers to include the brand to build better bones. Super Milk is supported by an all-year round advertising schedule supported by on-pack promotions and a year round PR plan supporting the campaign.

Avonmore Slimline Milk with added iron and vitamins meets the nutritional needs for those looking for a 0% fat option. Avonmore Lactose Free and Heart Active milks complete the value-added milks portfolio ensuring quality, taste and nutrition for all ages and stages of life.

Avonmore continues to sponsor the weather on RTÉ television throughout the year as part of its wider portfolio advertising programme.

Milk, but better

Innovation in flavour variants has seen Avonmore Protein Milk experience huge success to date, resulting in adoption by an ever-increasing group of active consumers and double digit growth in 2017.

Avonmore Protein milk is the milk brand of choice for a wide range of exercise enthusiasts, with convenient pack formats delivering 25g of high quality milk protein per 500ml a key driver. Its convenience, flexibility and taste make it a great choice for breakfast, smoothies, or as a drink after a workout.

Availability of the fresh milk product in its original 1L and 500ml formats cemented it firmly in milk usage occasions. The launch of Avonmore Protein Milk in Vanilla and Chocolate flavours in 500ml format has broadened on the go appeal for the brand and this innovation in 2017 saw further adoption by active consumers with the brand achieving +28% volume growth1 Also for every pack you buy, a donation is made to the Gaelic Players Association’s Player Development Programme Fund, to benefit county players.

Avonmore Protein Milk is supported by a national advertising programme including outdoor commuter formats, as well as digital and social media activity.

For more information on Avonmore Protein Milk visit

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack 52 w/e 05th Nov 2017).

Distinctive flavour

Connacht Gold Half Fat butter delivers on taste with half the fat

Connacht Gold Half Fat butter delivers on taste with half the fat

As butter makes a comeback, the Connacht Gold butter brand continues to grow in the butter and spreads category. Its range features a number of award-winning products, including Connacht Gold Softer Butter, Connacht Gold Garlic and Herb butter, Gold Creamery butter, Spreadable and Spreadable Light and a popular Unsalted Butter, all of which have won at the Great Taste Awards and/or Blas na hEireann awards over a number of years, for their creamy taste, texture, innovation and distinctive flavour.

The Connacht Gold brand is not one to shy away from new additions to the brand family, with one of its most recent additions being a huge success. Connacht Gold’s Sea Salted Butter is a flavoursome gourmet butter that needs to be tasted to be believed! Made with real sea salt crystals for a crunchy texture and married with Connacht Gold’s signature creamy butter, it’s an appetising addition to any savoury dish.

Connacht Gold continues to innovate in the category with the newest addition to the brand family, Connacht Gold’s Love to Bake, baking block. Whether you’re baking golden scones, butter biscuits, or a decadent cake, home baking tastes better with Connacht Gold’s Love to Bake, made specifically with bakers in mind!

The brand’s hero product – Connacht Gold Half Fat butter is also a Great Taste Award-winning butter, growing in popularity as consumers move back to real butter, taking advantage of all the taste with half the fat. A product containing no vegetable oils or chemically treated fats, only the delicious natural taste of butter, and all the health benefits of half the fat, Connacht Gold Half Fat real butter is one of a kind.

Keep an eye out for the Connacht Gold team this Easter, as they hit the road to celebrate the return of their annual Hot Cross Bun Day, on Thursday, 29 March, serving up mouth-watering hot cross buns with creamy Connacht Gold half fat butter, the perfect tasty Thursday treat.

Follow Connacht Gold on Facebook and Instagram, to keep up to date on all its exciting prize giveaways, tastings and more. Connacht Gold, the only real butter with half the fat in the convenience of a tub.

For more information, visit,, or

Goodness without any guilt!

PowCow comes in three tasty flavours; Cool Coconut, Passionfruit & Mango, and Heavenly Chocolate

PowCow comes in three tasty flavours; Cool Coconut, Passionfruit & Mango, and Heavenly Chocolate

Frozen yogurt has been around for a few years but it often falls short of being healthy and it can be packed full of sugar. Fortunately, an Irish dietitian turned entrepreneur has found a way to combine the yumminess of a frozen dessert with the nutrient-density that can be found in strained Greek yogurt to create the perfect storm of amazing taste and terrific nutrition.

Made from natural Greek Style strained yogurt, PowCow delivers the rich and creamy experience of traditional ice cream or frozen yogurt while also punching above its weight in terms of nutritional benefits. A great source of natural protein, PowCow is also low in fat with 80% less sugar than ice cream and is packed full of probiotics. Oh…and it’s gluten free.

Available in three flavours, Cool Coconut, Passionfruit & Mango, and Heavenly Chocolate, PowCow is refreshing, tropical, and indulgent, giving you the taste of a premium ice cream but in the form of a nutritious froyo. PowCow comes in both 125ml and 500ml sizes, making it the perfect healthy treat for athletes on-the-go or for those at home who may want to enjoy some frozen goodness without any guilty feelings. Each serving of 125ml of PowCow will give you 15g of protein in under 110 calories.

Made by a happy herd

The Killowen Farm range is free from any artificial ingredients and gluten-free

The Killowen Farm range is free from any artificial ingredients and gluten-free

Nicholas Dunne’s family, producers of the Killowen Farm brand, have been farming at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains in County Wexford for eight generations. The Dunne family know everything there is to know about dairy, which is why their cows produce great milk, which in turn makes great yogurt. Dedication to making the best possible product, coupled with a simple food philosophy, abides here. All the milk comes from the Dunnes herd of 180 Friesian cows farmed on this land. As such, it carries all the personality of sweet fresh milk, produced by a herd happily grazing on lush pastureland in the heart of the Irish countryside. Every part of the production takes place on the farm, from milking, to yogurt making to adding fruit to packaging and distribution – ticking all those vitally important traceability boxes.

Killowen Farm live yogurts are made with probiotic cultures, which help promote good health

Killowen Farm live yogurts are made with probiotic cultures, which help promote good health

Killowen Farm yogurts contain only the finest ingredients, with nothing added or taken away, and no compromises on quality or taste. Killowen is a live yogurt made with probiotic cultures, which help promote good health. It is free from any artificial ingredients and gluten-free. Killowen Farm has now grown to be a national brand, stocked in all the major supermarkets and leading independent retailers and food service companies in Ireland.

For more information, contact Killowen Farm, The Beeches, Courtnacuddy, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, telephone (053) 9244819 or visit Facebook:, Twitter: @killowenfarm.

Dairy Industry Ireland calls on insurance industry to deal positively with issues arising from Storm Emma

Snow drifts and freezing conditions during Storm Emma impacted the collection of milk on Irish farms

Snow drifts and freezing conditions during Storm Emma impacted the collection of milk on Irish farms

Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), the Ibec group that represents the sector, has called on the insurance industry to deal positively to address issues arising at farm level from Storm Emma. The exceptional weather which occurred during the storm saw snow drifts and freezing conditions make the collection of milk on farms particularly difficult.

“It is clear that we are in an unprecedented situation,” said director of DII, Conor Mulvihill during the storm, “where companies are going as far as they can to maintain a collection service, while at the same time ensuring the safety of farmers, staff and animals.”

On Saturday, 3 March, when the nation’s weather warnings were downgraded from Red, the collection of milk began to resume in certain areas. However, Mulvihill pointed out that as some parts of the country were unable to be serviced since Tuesday, 27 February, this caused individual farmers to come under pressure with their milk storage.

“It is important that the insurance industry is pro-active with farmers in terms of what procedures are needed to be put in place to cover any losses arising from the current weather situation,” he said.

Mulvihill likewise pointed out that haulage contractors were doing “their utmost to reach dairy farms as soon as possible to resume collections”. Nevertheless, a considerable backlog arose when collections resumed, given the large volumes of milk being produced on farms at this time of year.

Overall, the DII paid tribute to hauliers who did tremendous work in very challenging conditions to collect as much milk as possible ahead of the arrival of the storm.

Cathy Curran

Cathy Curran

Q & A with…

Cathy Curran, communications manager, NDC

Q: We have seen in recent years a massive growth in health food products, which often includes consumers replacing dairy – milk in particular – with plant-based alternatives. Where does the NDC stand on this current trend?

A: In general, dairy is perceived very positively by the Irish population as a whole. In our survey, 78% of Irish consumers perceived Ireland’s grass fed dairy as being superior to other countries, whilst 76% believe and trust Irish dairy farmers to behave responsibly. We have identified that 2% of the Irish population are vegan but 50% of this group trust Irish dairy farming. Ireland is the second biggest in Europe for milk consumption, with 99% penetration. The average Irish household consumes 6.5 litres of milk a week. Milk, yogurt and cheese are seeing a 2% annual growth. Three out of four consumers see Irish dairy farming as positive due to our grass-based system.

However, we have been aware for some time that there is a generation of Irish people who are avoiding or limiting dairy in their diet. This is of key concern for us as the current millennial generation (20-29yrs) will be the future parents and the next generation of older adults.

Our research demonstrated a gap in “millennial understanding” around Ireland’s grass-based system. Misconceptions and urban myths about dairy’s fat levels, allergies and lactose intolerance are wrongly encouraging millennials to opt for trendy almond milk lattes and gluten-free foods. We created a whole campaign, ‘The Complete Natural’ to address this (launched in November) and we have a new website with interactive Q&As on dairy explained with recipes, insights and guest blogs from a variety of experts.

Q: Are the higher percentages of milk avoidance among women of particular concern?  

A: Higher rates of milk avoidance among women is a concern because two nutrients in milk are particularly important for young women. These are calcium and iodine. It is well established that calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and that the rates of osteoporosis in Ireland are significantly higher in women. Also, published data shows that 77% of Irish women of childbearing age are not currently meeting the recommended requirement set for iodine during pregnancy. Iodine is an important micronutrient, which contributes to normal cognitive function, growth in children and thyroid function.

Q: What marketing activities does the NDC have in place for 2018, and will they attempt to address that (slightly) negative image dairy has been saddled with?  

A: We will continue to drive awareness of the benefits of dairy in a healthy balanced modern lifestyle with our recently launched campaign, ‘The Complete Natural’. Our ad campaign will be going live both in cinemas and out of home in April and again in June. We are also planning on working with a number of high profile influencers in Ireland on a range of exciting activities to promote the positive dairy messages.

Our flagship event for transition year students takes place in April, ‘Healthfest’ is a day to celebrate health and wellbeing with a festival vibe to the day. Speakers this year include 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott, dietician Orla Walsh, chef Adrian Martin and RTÉ’s Karl Henry.

We are also launching a really exciting campaign all around healthy eating in the workplace this year with chef Rozanne Stevens. Her ‘Capsule Kitchen’ cookbook will be launched in April and will include a whole section on dairy with healthy recipes for food on the go and at work. The campaign is being launched with the support of Ibec.

The Ploughing Championships in September is also a hugely important event on the NDC calendar. We have some very ambitious plans again for this year’s stand and will as always have a number of inspiring speakers, recipe demonstrations and experts over the three days. Watch this space for some exciting celebs to be announced for this year.

Q: Dairy remains a big footfall driver as consumers visit stores for fresh milk etc. What advice can the NDC offer retailers to maximize their offering in this area?  

A: The NDC’s mission is to champion the role of quality pasture-based dairy and its nutrition benefits in supporting healthier, more active living. Through a partnership model we deliver far greater awareness of milk and dairy nutrition benefits for healthy, active living from childhood to old age.

Working with retailers to communicate the health benefits of dairy through innovative category management solutions is an area worth exploring. For example, why not position dairy products beside vitamin supplements in-store to reinforce the natural affordable nutrients in milk, yoghurt & cheese?

In Ireland, we’re privileged with a grass-based system which facilitates sustainable growth for the industry. Retailers form part of the communication and sourcing strategy which retains consumers’ connection with Ireland’s dairy heritage. Our domestic market credentials must remain impeccable from farm to kitchen table.

Q: How do you work with health professionals in order to provide relevant nutritional information for different age groups of consumers? Why do you feel it is important to produce this information?

A: Everything that we do at the NDC is based on science – we have two nutritionists in-house who work with us across all our activities and campaigns, we work on the mantra of ‘Fact not Fad’ and we have full nutritional credentials to support the dairy category of milk, yogurt and cheese.

We work with a number of healthcare professionals outside the NDC as well as different stakeholder groups like Safefood, INDI, Healthy Ireland and Cappagh Hospital whom we have just launched a new partnership with in the area of bone health. We also regularly work with Food Health Ireland and commission research with various academic institutions around different elements of dairy consumption and insights. We also do a lot of work in the area of sports nutrition and have a partnership with Sport Ireland and the Institute of Irish Sport. Ultimately, we want dairy to be seen as part of Ireland’s healthcare solution.






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