BY SARAH MISKELL
HEAD OF OPERATIONAL MARKETING, MÜLLER YOGURT & DESSERTS
Dairy has enormous untapped potential. However, it’s been widely reported that manufacturers are operating in difficult markets characterised by food price deflation and fragile consumer confidence.
So how are brands supposed to grow the category when faced with such challenges? Answer: by putting shoppers and consumers at the heart of everything they do.
Did you hear the story about the psychic asparagus? By throwing a handful of asparagus into the air and then reading how they fall, ‘asparamancer’ Jemima Packington from Worcestershire, UK shot to fame by correctly predicting the outcome of both the Brexit referendum and the recent US presidential election.
It’s an interesting technique, but I’m not convinced. Rather than relying on asparagus to predict the future of our industry, we need to invest in building better shopper and consumer understanding if we want to ensure it’s a fruitful one.
We’re doing this at Müller, we’ve called this our category vision and the ambition and plans we have are game changing. But category visions can founder unless businesses also have the capabilities to deliver them. So here too, we have made major commitments.
To build knowledge of what customers, consumers and shoppers want just now, as well as in five years’ time, takes significant and ongoing investment, but it’s absolutely key. Along with popular existing ranges, customers and consumers want innovative and new products developed which fit their lifestyles.
We found that consumers wanted shareable big pots of yogurts that were lower in sugar, fat-free, but still in confectionery flavours. It was also clear that big pot buyers were also buying chocolate mousse desserts and wanted a shareable version. With this knowledge, we’ve recently been able to tap into this growing part of the market.
When you add in increased competition for snacking and the rise in people eating out, we feel that there are major opportunities to develop ranges which provide an option for every occasion.
For example, traditional consumers may want to have a yogurt with fresh fruit and granola for breakfast and perhaps a more indulgent yogurt or dessert that fulfils the ‘treat moment’ in the evening. But what about mid-morning/afternoon snack or lunch? Given that dairy contains essential nutrients such as protein, calcium and vitamins, which are a vital part of a healthy and nutritious diet, there’s a real opportunity here to give consumers what they want and when they want it.
Müller launched new Müller Pud Mmmousse to tap into new usage occasions.
On-the-go snacking is another great example. In today’s time-poor society, where most things are available with a scroll and a click, we all somehow have less time. On-the-go snacking is massive, but it’s not something that the dairy category has nailed yet. There’s a real opportunity to get this right.
If we’re going to unlock category growth, it’s vital that we continue to put shoppers and consumers at the heart of everything we do. We’ve all got the ambition, but do we have the knowledge to carry this through?
There’s no doubt that the current uncertain climate will bring both challenges and opportunities. But if you really understand the mindset of your market, then in my opinion, you stand a great chance of success.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020