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Milk and dairy products

Niche products take the lead

In a dairy market effected by a structural stagnation of consumption (-1% in Europe in 2004, +0.5% expected in developed countries by 2010), the United Kingdom enjoyed the most significant growth in Europe (+4.8% in 2004), but it is in Asia and Latin America (particularly Brazil and Mexico), that the increases have been most spectacular: these continents represent respectively 52% and 18% of the worldwide increase in demand.

Understandably, niche markets are proving the most dynamic, as vitamin-enriched milk, flavoured dairy products, children's products, soya and organic foods continue to flood supermarket shelves. The yoghurt market, globally stable in volume, also reflects this trend with the growth of niche products such as drinking yoghurts (+10.9% of sales), enriched yoghurts and probiotic yoghurts, such as Danone's Actimel range which recorded the highest growth rates (+38% in value).

Soya-based drinks offer an alternative and are enjoying great success (+19.4%), gobbling up market share by extending their ranges to include specific products for children, breakfast-time and well-being.

The health issue

In a market context of increasingly standardised products, the impact of discount stores and promotional offers, brand owners are seeking to differentiate their products by investing in marketing and examining highly specific segments. In the quest for new consumers, mainly adults, they are working to develop other products which are not just geared to the breakfast table with enriched milk drinks and mixtures of milk and fruit juices.

However health is the overriding theme of dairy products. After introducing low-fat and low-sugar products, brands are increasingly adding enriched ingredients such as active bacteria, vegetal sterols and omega 3s. Tomorrow's milk and yoghurts will reduce obesity and lower cholesterol rates, blood pressure and stress, without forgoing the pleasure of consumption!

Single doses flourish

The evolution of consumer trends has understandably impacted on packaging where an increasingly marketing-led outlook is needed. The traditional laminated board bricks of milk have given way to bottles, which are in turn being superseded by transparent PET on shop shelves. Mini-bottles and snack formats are popping up to keep pace with the on-the-go consumer.

In line with the specific needs of the dairy market - shelf impact, sales promotions, consumer safety, easy opening, product protection, traceability and manufacturing optimisation, Sleever International has a vast range of solutions to offer. Solutions which have already appealed to market leaders such as Danone, Nestlé and Müller.

Source FAO, Leatherhead Food International, IRI