Thursday, May 12, 2016

Flavored Milk Opportunities to Compete as a Beverage

This week I was honored to speak at the Midwest Dairy Association’s Chicago-stop for its Tomorrow’s Dairy Consumer summit. After addressing a room of dairy industry leaders on the topic of Marketing to Millennials, I was asked a number of questions. Some made me giggle, because if I had the answer to them, none of us would need to be sitting in that room.

The reality is that industry analysts and consultants are taking their best educated guess as to why consumers say and do the things they do. Again, if we had firm answers, the dialogue would not need to take place. The knowledge would simply be implemented. Survey responses, scanner data and social media analysis is just that. It provides direction and helps predict what might work in the future, but the numbers are about what already transpired.

One of the questions asked at the summit was why millennials—this demographic that’s all into minimally processed foods sourced locally--are purchasing nondairy milks, e.g., almond, cashew, flax, hemp, soy, when they know these are processed and packaged, often quite a distance away. I responded that I have no idea.

However, after pondering the question for a few days, the answer is very obvious. They are curious.

Unlike the generations preceding millennials who tend to be creatures of habit, millennials are all about exploration. They crave excitement and desire the unknown.

Data presented at the summit showed that millennial like milk. They buy milk. But they want something to shake up their day, so they try something new. If it passes the taste test, it’s added to their approved food list, which continues to grow, and as a result, items on that list are purchased less frequently.

Here’s an analogy for creatures of habit, who really are not as set in their ways as they think. Lite beer…you like it. You drink it. You know it has fewer calories than other beers. It’s your go-to on a hot summer day and usually there’s a bottle or can in the fridge. But you are curious about the hundreds of craft beers out there. You try a local IPA. You like it. You now buy it occasionally.

Another craft brewer rolls out a limited-batch cider. You try it, like it, and buy a six pack every time you go shopping because you know it will sell out soon. Less of your beer budget goes to Lite, even though it’s still a favorite.

This is what has happened to fluid white milk. This is why it’s paramount for milk marketers to think like craft brewers. It’s to keep millennials (and even us older consumers) engaged.

It works in ice cream. There’s probably a multi-serve vanilla package in your freezer right now, which cost about $4.00. There’s also a pint of Jeni’s most recent limited-edition innovation, which cost $9.99.

And think about cheese…your go-to is cheddar and mozzarella, but after swinging by the specialty cheese case, you find some truffle Gouda in your cart. Next week you want to try the Tuscan fontina.

For some ideas on artisan and value-added flavored milk, link HERE.

Need additional milk innovation? Plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association Milk and Cultured Dairy Products Conference May 24 to 25 in Indianapolis. For more information, link HERE.

Germany’s Müller Milch is one of the most progressive players in the limited-edition flavored milk sector. Some of the company’s most recent innovations come under its Müller Milch Select brand, which now offers indulgent milk flavors such as White Chocolate Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Almond.

Müller Milch is also rolling out two seasonal milk flavors. Coco Chocolate is a blend of chocolate flavor with a touch of coconut, and White Chocolate Pistachio.

This is definitely one of the most engaging flavored milk campaigns. Talk about creating an urgency to purchase. For a few short weeks in March, the company offered four unnamed flavored milks, with each bottle donning a masked woman. Consumers were encouraged to purchase all four and guess the flavor on the company’s website. Correct responses were then entered into a sweepstakes. The four flavors were: gold masked bottle=popcorn, black masked bottle=orange, red masked bottled=salty caramel and silver masked bottle=vanilla.

This past winter in the U.K., Crediton Dairy introduced “velvety smooth and luxuriously rich” ready-to-heat-and-drink Gü Hot Chocolate. The indulgent, full-fat milk came in three flavors: Hot Chocolate, Mocha Flavor Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Packed in a multi-serve 750-milliliter carton, a cupful is easily warmed in the microwave.

The dairy also market’s the U.K.’s number-one branded milk: Moo. Sold in 1-liter multi-serve cartons, 1% milkfat Moo comes in four flavors: Banana, Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge Cake and Strawberry. In response to consumer demand, the milks are now rolling out in 330-milliliter single-serve bottles.

In the U.S., Prairie Farms continues to find success with its seasonal milk offerings. Just in time for summer sipping, the company adds Honey Cookie Milk to its warm-weather trio of flavors.

Sold under the Chef’s Splendor brand, Honey Cookie Milk joins two other culinary-inspired flavors: Dark Chocolate Truffle and Sea Salt Caramel. All three Chef’s Splendor flavors are blended with 100% real milk and have the perfect balance of sweetness, according to the company.

Honey Cookie is a delicate combination of honey flavor and sugar. Dark Chocolate Truffle is an intensely indulgent combination of real cocoa flavor with a hint of vanilla. Sea Salt Caramel combines buttery caramel flavor with a touch of sea salt. All flavors in the lineup are made with premium ingredients and natural flavors.

“Prairie Farms continues to drive innovation by bringing our customers new and exciting milk flavors throughout the year. With the introduction of 21 specialty milk flavors since 2015, we have completely disrupted the flavored milk category,” says Rebecca Leinenbach, vice president of marketing and communications at Prairie Farms. “Our Chef’s Splendor lineup is unique. The indulgent flavor combinations are delicious on their own, perfect for recipes or they can complement a variety of spirits.”

The Gorham Grind, an independent community coffeehouse located in the heart of downtown Gorham Village in Maine, has teamed up with a local dairy to offer Rocket Fuel.

It’s a coffee milk that’s been kicked up a notch. It’s made with a proprietary espresso syrup using double-brewed dark coffee. This gets combined with caramelized sugar and a blend of local whole milk, nonfat milk and half & half.
Earlier this year, Dean Foods added TruMoo Calcium Plus low-fat chocolate milk to its line of flavored milks. It contains 50% more calcium per serving than regular low-fat white milk.

“We are constantly striving to develop delicious products that provide nutritional benefits to our consumers and their families,” says Greg Schwarz, vice president of marketing at Dean Foods. “TruMoo Calcium Plus allows kids and adults to get important nutrients that they need, all in a tasty treat.”

Also in the States, Promised Land Dairy Kicked off 2016 with updated packaging that communicates the artisan, crafted nature of its flavored milk. Made using Jersey cow milk, which clearly stated on package labels, the new bottles showcase an array of beautifully colored labels that instantly communicate the brand’s indulgent core and seasonal flavor offerings.

New typefaces, color palates and the more modern, art deco design of the bottles reflects the evolution of the Promised Land brand’s overall look and feel, while still evoking nostalgia consumers have come to instantly recognize. The new bottles are more ergonomically correct and address the consumer’s previous challenges with spillage. With the refreshed packaging, Promised Land stays true to its heritage in glass bottles by using recyclable PET so consumers can continue to see the quality milk inside.

Promised Land added three new seasonal flavored milks to its portfolio in 2015, including Salted Caramel Latte, Mint Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Spice. Its core flavored milks include Midnight Chocolate and Very Berry Strawberry.

Lastly, one of the more interesting flavored milk concepts to roll out in 2016 comes from WhiteWave Foods. New Sir Bananas is a half-gallon gable-top carton line of reduced-fat milk blended with real bananas. The ultra-pasteurized milk contains 20% bananas and comes in two varieties: Bananamilk and Chocolate Bananamilk. Sir Bananas is sweetened by banana puree and cane sugar, with natural vanilla rounding out the flavor profile.

It’s Also Time to Compete in the World Dairy Innovation Awards
Many dairy processors have introduced great new products this past year and I encourage you to enter the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2016. U.K.-based FoodBev Media has organized and presented this award for the past 10 years, and this year will be selecting winners in 18 different categories ranging from products, brands and catering to marketing, packaging and sustainability. All are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global dairy industry.

Every year, some of the biggest, most world-renowned brands and groundbreaking new start-ups enter the awards, highlighting their newest innovations on this global platform. The finalists and winners of the 2016 awards will be announced at a special gala dinner during the 10th Global Dairy Congress on the evening of June 28, 2016, in London.

In 2015, the World Dairy Innovation Awards attracted more than 220 entries from 27 countries.
This year, the closing date for entries is May 20, 2016. For more information and to enter, link HERE.

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