It is an exciting time for us at Lion Dairy & Drinks as in the next few weeks we are launching a number of new dairy products.
“Nutrition is always convenient and convenience isn’t always healthy so we are tackling this with an array of new product launches across multiple fresh dairy categories,” Nicola Richardson, Sales Director, Lion Dairy & Drinks said.
- Moving Masters into the convenience of a resealable on the go bottle in both 300ml and 750ml
- Expanding 500ml FUIC with an exciting new FUIC Edge “Protein and Fibre” offering for everyday wellness
- Expanding Dare in a frozen format for enjoyment and pleasure
- Expanding Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy across both 150g and 600g formats with interesting new gourmet offerings
Nicola said we are taking a holistic approach to building awareness and engagement with our brands and products and our approach is to invest in a complete media mix covering free-to-air and subscription TV, radio and outdoor advertising.
“It is about reminding consumers at the point-of-purchase through a combination of sponsorships, sampling, digital advertising and social media activity to build word of mouth,” she said.
“Digital is a key focus for us and our advertising strategy is adaptable based on the audience for each brand and the message that we are looking to share. As you’ll have seen from our recently launched Dare TVC’s ‘Hipster Invasion’ and ‘Drink it Through’ we’re not afraid to be creative in the execution of our ideas in the dairy category, and this is something that really resonates with our consumers.”
Nicola said at Lion Dairy & Drinks we are focused on reviewing and reshaping our dairy portfolio to deliver nutritionally better choices to our consumers, whilst also focusing on key innovation platforms that deliver to the market trends we are seeing shape the grocery channel and the dairy case.
“It’s an exciting time for the sector and there are many opportunities to develop now product variants and packaging options that support our customers in leading healthy lives.”
She said the dairy category was performing strongly in grocery and supermarket, with dairy contributing 61% share of value and 57% of value growth to the chilled department (which has grown +2.9% vs YA in value ).
“We’re seeing particularly strong performance in the white milk category” Nicola said.
Nicola said dairy products with a convenience offering such as iced coffee or liquid breakfast will continue to be popular as consumers increasingly desire an ‘on the go’ option to accommodate their busy schedules.
Products that appeal to health-conscious consumers are also continuing to be popular, she said, most relevant within the dairy category through unflavoured and flavoured Greek or Greek-style yoghurts that are perceived by customers to be purer and less processed than other category options.
“Interestingly, we have also seen a consumer shift towards full fat and full cream dairy as awareness has grown around the importance of dairy and good fats in our diets. Personalisation and choice will continue to be a huge trend globally as shoppers are looking to choose their own range, leading to rising popularity of single product variants rather than multi-pack options,” Nicola said.
“There is a shift away from products that contain high sugar content and little functional benefit as consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with ingredients, and making product choices based on health.
“There is a conflict between consumer’s desire for choice in fresh products in the chiller, superior taste linked with fresh vs. UHT and the retail pressure on waste and markdowns.
“We are working closely with retail partners to balance choice, availability and profit return on space. At store level, navigating the dairy case remains an ongoing challenge. We are working with retail partners to clearly define categories and segments, and enhance navigation cues to help direct shoppers to the dairy case.”
Asked how consumers can best be educated about a dairy case offer, Nicola said a smooth consumer journey was essential, ensuring ease of navigation so that customers can quickly and easily find what they want.
“Additionally, with the increased focus on ‘natural’ choices, consumers want to be reassured that chilled products in the dairy case are fresh, to increase their likelihood of engaging with the offer.”
Of the unique opportunities the dairy case market offers, Nicola says this department of the store attracts high foot traffic and, largely, contains nutritionally beneficial products. If the correct dairy case layout is considered there is the opportunity for consumers to cross-shop within this section and purchase dairy products that fulfil different requirements of their lifestyle.
As an example, she says where possible locating yoghurt, cheese and milk beverages at front of store can be a valuable way to position these products as a healthier snack alternative for consumers and encourage purchase. Additionally, ensuring appropriate signage and navigation cues for the dairy case is vital to increase consumer engagement with the dairy case.
Nicola said key global consumer trends that will have an impact on the dairy case this year include:
- Simple, ‘natural’, foods: consumers are increasingly seeking products they view as fresh, natural and better for them. Refrigerated dairy will play a role here as shoppers continue to seek products that need to be refrigerated, and as such are less likely to contain excessive preservatives.
- Time scarcity: consumers have increasingly hectic lifestyles, driving on-the-go snacking and breakfast products. Impulse formats that support this will be increasingly relevant to Australian consumers.
- Enhancement and excitement: consumers’ desire for sensorial experiences through new, exotic and indulgent flavours is likely to continue throughout 2018.
“Additionally, changing societal trends will also play a role in the dairy sector, for example smaller pack size consumption may be driven by the increase in smaller households that make regular shopping trips throughout the week,’ she said.
“Health concerns and the pursuit of wellbeing are changing the way consumers shop food and beverages, with shoppers actively seeking out products that they perceive to have extra benefits to their health and wellbeing, and investing in these.
“Dairy products contain innate goodness which is of benefit to these consumers, so our challenge is to ensure they are well educated on this topic – something Lion Dairy & Drinks has begun work on through the Milk Loves You Back extended labels, informing consumes of the eight essential nutrients contained within milk.
“Portion size is becoming increasingly important to consumers as in many cases it drives permissibility for daily consumption of certain categories (such as flavoured milk or iced coffee) and enables control over consumption of sugar and fat which we understand are key consumer priorities.”
Nicola said we will continue to see a blurring of categories driven by new product trends and will need to redefine category definitions and flow of products to evolve with these trends.
“Trends where we have seen incremental growth such as health-focused functional beverages and snacking formats will require designated sections within the dairy case to support their growth. It’s also likely that designated areas with products that cater for the specific needs of children will represent an extra sales opportunity.”
This interview originally appeared in Retail World