Giving Dairy a Boost at Retail

Five key consumer trends will guide successful products in the coming year, and milk and cultured dairy products are no exception.

That was the basis of a presentation by Mintel’s Lynn Dornblaser this past week at the Milk and Cultured Dairy Products Symposium, held near Chicago by the International Dairy Foods Association.

Launches of new dairy-based food products have been down of late, due to two main reasons, according to Dornblaser: a rough economy and SKU rationalization by grocery retailers. “I go to stores for a living, and I can’t figure out what’s not there,” said Dornblaser, director of CPG trend insights at Chicago-based Mintel. “Retailers are getting rid of poor performers, and you’re not noticing.”

Still, new dairy products entering the market stand a good chance of success if they follow one or more of the following trends:

- Redefining Natural. There’s a lack of understanding by consumers about what “all natural” really means, Dornblaser noted. As such, product developers are putting a stronger focus on products’ inherent goodness. “Dairy’s in a good spot for this,” she said, noting as an example Haagen-Dazs Five, a line of ice cream containing only five ingredients. “All the ingredients are easy to understand,” Dornblaser noted, adding that the product routinely outperforms all other Haagen-Dazs lines. This product also has 30 percent less fat than regular ice cream. “That’s because Haagen-Dazs Five is the old Haagen-Dazs Light repackaged and repositioned,” Dornblaser said. “A brilliant piece of marketing.” She also pointed to the “meteoric sales” of Greek-style yogurt as a successful product known for its goodness qualities: low fat, creamy and high in protein.

- Blurring Categories, such as dairy based cereal drinks, which are popular in Latin America. This presents cross-promotional opportunities.

- Econo-chic. Small indulgences that are inexpensive but tailored for adult tastes are hot right now, Dornblaser said. “There’s a lot of potential for flavored milks, more than just strawberry, chocolate and vanilla for kids,” she said.

- New Retro. “More companies are looking to the past for packaging and commercials, to make it relevant for consumers today,” Dornblaser said, citing a retro Breyers ice cream campaign that ran during the popular 1960s-based TV show “Mad Men.” Other examples: Pepsi and Mountain Dew “throwbacks” with vintage packaging and cane sugar; milk in glass bottles; Kroger’s Micro Shakes.

- Cradle to Grave Initiatives. Stretching brands up and down the age spectrum, such as carbonated Juicy Juice in slim cans.

Jim Dudlicek is senior editor of Progressive Grocer.

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