It is a simple fact that Irish dairy is world class, if not the global leader, using farming traditions and quality-control standards handed down through generations. This month, we explore the leading brands and latest developments within this internationally renowned category
15 March 2019
Euromonitor Ireland’s latest report on the dairy sector, published in August of last year, reveals a confident outlook across dairy as a whole. The cheese segment is forecast to grow due to increased demand. “Unit prices for cheese are also increasing due to improvement in consumers’ economic confidence,” Euromonitor reports, “with more disposable income encouraging many to trade up to premium products.”
Of course, the current trend among some consumers to limit or avoid one’s dairy intake has achieved considerable column inches within various lifestyle supplement of late. That said, as Euromonitor points out, “dairy is ingrained in the Irish way of life, which leaves the cheese industry confident of remaining relevant”. Currently, cheddar is still the most popular cheese across the country, but other types of cheeses and artisanal variants are growing in popularity as consumer tastes become more sophisticated. According to Euromonitor, growth is being driven by new product developments in terms of flavours, types and added health benefits, as well as by players tapping into the snacking category.
Meanwhile, within the milk segment, Euromonitor reports milk production in Ireland continues to be ramped up since the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015, although this is with a focus on growing exports rather than in response to increased demand domestically. The drinking milk products category is still growing in Ireland due to further innovation, however, particularly in the area of added-value nutrition and milk alternatives.
Growth within the yoghurt and sour milk products category is being driven by reformulations and new product developments, Euromonitor continues. These focus on health and wellness, with increasing demand for products that contain protein, vitamin D and calcium.
Plain yoghurt is expected to be the fastest growing within the category, according to Euromonitor. This results from a strong demand among some consumers for more natural yoghurt that can be sweetened with fruits and berries as opposed to buying already fruit-flavoured yoghurts.
Q&A with…Tim Ryan, head of marketing, Glanbia Consumer Foods
Q: Recent years have seen a surge in interest in health food such as protein-based, plant-based and other healthy options in all segments. What can we learn from these trends?
A: I think we can take it that consumers are taking control of their health today and their health into the future. Nutrition is a complex space but consumers are making their own plans and looking for products and services from brands to help them on their nutrition journey. It looks like a food-first agenda so brands have to grab hold of this.
Q: How has Glanbia capitalised on this development, both in terms of growing the business and providing consumers with innovative products in a relatively new area?
At Avonmore we have spent the last 20 years developing our value-added range of milks to offer consumers very accessible nutrition through the milk they put in their tea or cereals. Avonmore Protein Milk has become a key brand in the category offering 27g of high-quality protein per 500ml pack for those who need extra protein in their diet. The away from home 500ml range in particular is the fastest growing segment with three flavours and a new Blueberry flavour launching soon.
Q: The dairy segment has faced strong competition from plant-based milk alternatives in recent years, along with assertions around environmental protection issues. What plans are in place to evolve brands like Avonmore to address these obstacles?
A: Avonmore predominantly is a dairy brand. We absolutely see the growth in alternatives and of course understand where consumers’ needs are in this space. However, we believe in the power of natural nutrition from dairy and the strategy we have in place to deliver more benefits through dairy. I think the proof point has been the success of some of our brands like Avonmore Super Milk, growing well ahead of the market. We are a nation of milk lovers and consumption is amongst the highest globally.
Q: Given your focus on value-added products, can we expect more innovation in the future?
A: Absolutely, we always have a range of interesting innovation projects on-the-go. Expect to see some interesting new flavours in our Mooju range in the coming weeks; a new Avonmore Protein Milk Blueberry is on the way and working on some new formats across our key brands for 2020.
As Ireland’s number one dairy brand, Avonmore products are enjoyed on a daily basis in households across Ireland. Quality is a priority and Avonmore is passionate about ensuring the best-tasting milk reaches consumers.
Avonmore Super Milk is a significant growth brand for the category delivering year-on-year growth over the last number of years in a relatively flat market. An award-winning advertising campaign ‘Our Weather’ was introduced to encourage consumers to make the switch to Avonmore Super Milk as it contains all an individual’s daily Vitamin D needs in just one glass. The brand was recently extended to include a new Fat Free variant which was successfully introduced at the start of this year.
Avonmore Protein Milk delivers a great-tasting protein product and is easily integrated into consumers’ mealtimes and on-the-go lifestyles. Innovation being key to this consumer cohort, Avonmore has introduced new flavours to the range in recent times including Chocolate and Vanilla with more flavours planned for launch in 2019. Popular with males and females alike, the brand is heavily supported in terms of media and sampling at key sporting events throughout the year. Avonmore Slimline Milk with added iron and vitamins meets the nutritional needs for those looking for a 0% fat option with added benefits. Avonmore Lactose Free and Heart Active Milks complete the value-added milks portfolio ensuring quality, taste and nutrition for all ages and stages.
A fine find!
Horgans Delicatessen Supplies has introduced a fresh new look for the Horgans branded range, which has been well-established in Irish retail since the 1970s with many fans amongst Irish consumers.
The new contemporary look leverages the rich heritage of the Horgans brand, representing family values, heritage, provenance and innovation. The symbol represents the spirit of Horgans and the ‘Finders of Fine Foods’ ethos. It is based on the original carriage concept, depicting a journeyman (Michael Horgan) setting off on his travels to find the finest foods to bring home to his customers.
Central to the Horgans brand, as Finders of Fine Foods, is Michael Horgan’s ‘Guarantee of Quality’, which is stamped on every pack.
Horgans packaging has been revamped on all products across the range, including the iconic Horgan’s Blacky Ham, Horgan’s Pates and Horgan’s Irish Cheddars.
The Horgans range of Irish cheddars are specially selected by Michael Horgan and are the product of generations of passionate Irish cheese makers. All Horgans cheddars are aged and matured to give strong flavour and rich aroma. Through the maturation process, salt crystals form naturally, giving a distinctive crumbly texture.
Horgan’s Vintage Irish Cheddar in its distinctive black wax coating is a firm favourite with the Irish consumer.
As the tradition and reputation of the Horgan family name has been synonymous with the finest quality food products since 1921, it is fitting that Horgan’s 1921 Cheddar is Horgan’s finest cheddar yet. Aged and matured for a minimum of two years, this cheddar has a distinctive strong flavour and a real bite.
Shaping up nicely!
Strings & Things is a new range of kids snacks that features family favourites Cheestrings and Yollies, and now the new cheese snacking innovation, Cheeshapes.
Cheeshapes Icons and Cheeshapes Randoms were co-created with kids and parents, meaning kids love them and parents have the comfort of knowing they are full of dairy goodness. Each bag of Cheeshapes contains real cheese pieces in either emoji or random shapes, playing into key kids’ trends whilst also up-aging the kids snacking category. Cheeshapes are designed to spark the imagination of kids and the brand owners are confident they’re set to rocket the cheese snacking category penetration skywards.
Very crafty indeed!
Charleville is introducing new Charleville Crafty Creations Monterey Jack Slices to the market.
As the number one branded cheese in Ireland*, Charleville knows a thing or two about making great-tasting cheese. The company has a range of tasty cheese to suit everybody and is particularly proud of its Crafty Creations range. A range of specially selected tasty cheeses from around the world that are carefully crafted and sliced for the best taste experience, including Maasdam and Oaked Smoked Cheddar.
Charleville is delighted to be adding a new cheese to this range this year. Its exciting new Monterey Jack is an American-style firm cheese that is mild, creamy and highly tasty.
Charleville knows consumers are looking for new and exciting flavours in a premium convenient format, and believes its Monterey Jack does just that, coming at a time when specialty cheese is in value growth of 6.9% year-on-year*.
*(Source: Nielsen, January 2019)
Many benefits of culture!
Müller Corner is set to reduce sugar by up to 9% and gain a creamier texture, thanks to the discovery of a new yogurt culture.
Following a rigorous research and development process which involved access to more than 13,000 strains, Müller discovered that the combination of two specific yogurt strains*, created a less sour tasting yogurt which means less sugar is required to be added to create a better taste.
Having already reduced total sugar by 13.5%**, equalling 1,759 tonnes, the new mild recipe could allow Müller to reduce sugar in its Müller Corner range by 9%***. At the same time, the dairy company is also removing all added sugar from its core Müllerlight range, reducing the total sugar content by up to 28%***.
Müller, the ‘Official Yogurt of British Athletics and Athletics Ireland’****, has worked for the last 18 months to develop the new culture and the new recipes, which will be available from May 2019. It’s backed by consumer testing, with respondents preferring the thicker texture and creamier taste.*****
The discovery is part of Müller’s £100m investment to innovate, develop, manufacture and market a new generation of yogurt and dessert products.
Having recently reformulated Müllerlight Greek Style and Müllerlight Fruitopolis so that they include 0% added sugar, Müller had also previously reformulated the iconic Müller Corner Strawberry flavour so that it has 19% less sugar and launched Müller Corner Plain, the dairy company’s first ever Müller Corner made with unsweetened natural Greek style yogurt.
“From industry leading sugar reformulation to helping children to become more active, we’re extremely passionate about empowering people to live more healthy lifestyles,” says Michael Inpong, chief marketing officer at Müller.
“The challenge we faced was how to reduce sugar, without ever compromising on taste,” he adds.
“By changing the culture we use to make our yogurt, we’ve created something completely unique. Not only does the new Corner yogurt recipe have a thicker and creamier texture, but it has less sugar. It’s backed by our consumer sampling, and we’re very excited to bring this new recipe to market.”
*(Selected and combined specific strains from two species: Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus)
**(Across its branded yogurt portfolio. Total sugar SWA per 100g, less 3.8g lactose allowance per 100g – based on Kantar volume data)
****(Official Yogurt as Proud Sponsor of British Athletics and Athletics Ireland)
*****(Based on taste test responses from a group of 150 people)
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. These include Raspberry, Vanilla, Peach & Passion Fruit, Blueberry & Vanilla, Coconut and Stracciatella. Kvarg is Swedish for quark.
Successfully launched in the UK and Ireland last year and the number one quark in Sweden*, the Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg range has a tasty creamy texture – similar to Greek yoghurt – created to help consumers lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle**. Whether for customers who are long-time gym-goers or those just starting out on a healthy routine, Nestlé Lindahls Kvarg is a perfect partner for a 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; tasting great mixed with fruit or granola.
Nestle Lindahls Kvarg pots are stocked in the chilled yogurts aisle. For more information, visit
*(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)
Feeling good starts from the inside
Activia, the popular yogurt brand from Danone, is rolling out a packaging refresh across its core portfolio, including all 0% fat with no added sugar variants and the core fruits range.
On shelves since mid-February, the new, modern look maintains the iconic green but dials up natural, fresh colours in a step-change evolution for the famous dairy brand. Four-packs are also moving to double-stacked packaging to give them a stand-out point of sale on-shelf for retailers. The pots are also changing, now boasting a transparent case to showcase the tasty yogurt inside.
The campaign will support Activia’s mission to continuously support consumers as their ally for everyday gut health. The marketing activation will be supported with a heavyweight media campaign, including new TV ads, targeted digital, out-of-home and in-store activation.
“We believe that feeling good starts from the inside*,” says Leanne McGrath, brand manager for Activia. “People are looking to brands to help them make good food choices without compromising on the taste; that’s why we continuously look to develop and improve our offers. This ambition is at the heart of everything we do and with 30 years’ experience, we’re excited to bring our latest brand evolution to our customers.”
McGrath explains that the new look reflects the brand’s improved recipe and premium quality. “Building on the success of the Activia 0% fat and no added sugar launch in 2017, we have now reformulated our full fat fruits range to include a new and improved recipe,” she says. “What’s more, we’re proud of what’s on the inside – that’s why we’ve made our pots transparent as well giving our brand a new look to reflect our premium products and mission to support gut health.
“Our four-packs are one of the biggest contributors in the category,” she adds, “and by moving them to double-stacked, it gives the shelf display a more distinctive and attention-grabbing look for shoppers, with the aim being to drive sales with new and existing shoppers.”
*(Activia contains calcium, which contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes)
**(RRP is at complete discretion of the retailers)
A complete meal on-the-go
GO20 is the latest innovation to join the yogurt aisle from Ireland’s most popular branded yogurt, Glenisk – ‘The Good Yogurt’. This high-protein yogurt (using Irish Strained Protein Yogurt) and granola cup offers consumers the ‘magic’ 20g protein per serving, making for an ideal complete meal on-the-go.
As well as containing 20g of protein per serving, GO20s are also a source of fibre, nut-free, made using 0% fat Irish strained protein yogurt, and 100% natural, with nothing artificial.
Two initial flavours have been developed and launched to market – Natural 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with a Mixed Berry Granola and Vanilla 0% Fat Protein Yogurt with a Dark Chocolate & Coconut Granola – with further additions to the range set to be introduced in the coming months.
“Food-first nutrition” is at the heart of the Glenisk ethos – with nothing artificial ever. Since 2016, Glenisk has been fuelling the performance of Irish rugby, including the Senior Men’s and Women’s squads as well as the Under 20s, Rugby 7s, Connacht and Munster teams, with its high-protein Irish Strained Protein Yogurt range and now with the new GO20 line.
‘Glenisk, The Good Yogurt’, has been producing premium Irish milk and yogurt from its Co. Offaly base for over 30 years.
For more information, visit www.glenisk.com.