Müller is on a mission to build the "biggest and best dairy company in the UK". It’s also keen to empower consumers to make healthier lifestyle choices and says its links to athletics help with this. Its latest link comes from signing up two new brand ambassadors: British sprinters Adam Gemili and Dina Asher-Smith. The duo are appearing in Müller’s multimedia campaign which aims to inspire the next generation to become involved and have fun with athletics. The campaign includes new TV ads, digital and print advertising and the dairy company’s biggest-ever on-pack promotion. This gives consumers the chance to win 1,000 pairs of session tickets for the IPC World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 and the IAAF World Championships London 2017, as well as other prizes.

Consumers are directed to www.mullerathletics2017.com where they can enter the prize draws. In addition, the site features a wide range of other content including athlete interviews, tips from athletes on getting motivated and information on the health benefits of dairy.

As part of the campaign, Müller has developed a range of limited editions inspired by its status as Official Supporter of the British Athletics Team. A phased launch sees 12 limited editions become available across Müller Corner, Müllerlight, Müller Rice and FRijj. In addition, Müller has launched its reformulated Müller Corner Strawberry recipe, the most popular flavour in the range, which now includes 19% less sugar and no sweeteners.

Michael Inpong, chief marketing officer at Müller, says: "We’re continuing to reduce added sugar across our brands, and the reformulation of our Müller Corner Strawberry is the latest step in our strategy to remove added sugar where possible, while maintaining the same delicious taste that our consumers expect."

Market first

Over at Danone, head of category and market strategy, Clare Denham, describes the company’s Light & Free product as a "real market-first".

"It’s a double-zero yogurt with zero fat and zero added sugar, containing only naturally occurring sugar. As such, it is a real game changer within the category and is set to introduce more shoppers to dairy."

In addition, Danone has just launched the new Activia 0% fat with no added sugar. It comes in Strawberry, Peach, Raspberry, Vanilla, Cherry and Blueberry flavours. For forecourts, it’s available in a four-pack format with an rrp of £1.99. The launch is supported by a heavyweight marketing campaign including TV commercials, out-of-home and digital advertising and in-store activation.

Denham says that, according to Ibid figures, 96% of UK consumers buy chilled yogurts and potted desserts, so retailers should ensure they are easy to find in-store, using best-selling brands as a signpost for the segment. "Retailers can further boost sales by including them in meal deals or cross-category promotions, eg as a dessert-to-go with a sandwich," she adds.

Of course, yogurt makes a great snack but eating it on-the-go can be a problem if you haven’t a spoon handy. The good news is that Müller has come up with a solution with the launch of two yogurt lines with spoons attached: Müller Corner Strawberry (150g) and Müllerlight Goodies Lemon (107g). The disposable spoon sits under a lid on the top of each product. However, the bad news is that these two with-spoon lines are currently only available in Boots stores. But, if they’re a success you can imagine they’ll be rolled out to the rest of the market.

Recent Müller research found that 64% of people have purchased a yogurt or potted dessert while out or at work, indeed it was the third most popular food item (behind sandwiches at 91% and meal deals at 69%). And, when consumers were shown the two new SKUs, and asked what they liked most about them, the inclusion of the spoon was the most popular feature.

Bill Mathieson, commercial director at Müller Yogurt & Desserts, says: "Our approach is to give customers what they want and we know there is a real demand for yogurts to be eaten on-the-go. The last thing we want is for people to improvise, so we are providing a spoon.

"On-the-go snacking is massive, but it’s not something that the category has nailed yet. If we’re going to unlock category growth, it’s vital that we listen to our customers and consumers. We’re very excited to give people the option to eat our products at a time and place that suits them best."

Easy cheesy snacks

With so many people focused on healthy eating, the future’s looking bright for cheese. According to a recent Mintel study, 40% of consumers eat cheese as a healthier alternative to other snacks and treats ie chocolate or crisps. Yes, cheese contains fat but it’s also a good source of protein and many of those consumers looking for healthier choices are keen on upping their protein intake. Luckily for them, there are more and more cheese snacking products available on the market. Once these products were aimed at kids but now there are adult oriented ones too.

Late last year, Dairy Crest launched the Cathedral City Snack Bar into the convenience channel, which is shaped like a traditional cereal bar to "leverage visual recognition cues from this developed adult snacking category".

At the time of the launch, Will Hemmings, head of cheese marketing at the firm, said significant numbers of adults were already snacking on cheese but felt that there were no products suited to their needs for on-the-go snacking.

He added that at 30g and with the lighter variety coming in at just 99kcals, it made for a "very credible alternative to a small bag of crisps or a cereal bar".

Another adult cheese snacking line was launched earlier this year by Kerry Foods.

Called GoGo’s, it’s been created to provide consumers with the goodness of cheese along with other ’tantalising’ ingredients including dark chocolate covered coffee beans. Amanda Ryan, senior brand manager at Kerry Foods, says: "We believe GoGo’s will resonate strongly with UK shoppers as our research shows that one in 10 enjoy 43 different types of snacks a month. Finding a gap in the market, GoGo’s will disrupt snacking and revolutionise the dairy aisle with a range of products that allow shoppers the chance to experience interesting flavour combinations."

Meanwhile, according to Nielsen data, it’s Dairylea that’s the UK’s number one snacking cheese brand and it’s helping to drive the category, with a growth rate of 9%. Dairylea’s portfolio includes products which are ideal for parents on-the-go, lunchbox and after-school snacking occasions.

Susan Nash, trade communications manager at brand owner, Mondelz International, says: "We have seen large growth in the cheese snacks segment which is closely aligned to mums looking for convenient solutions for kids’ snacking. Dairylea offers a great range for mums who want a snack for kids and continues to bring innovation to the category."

Its latest innovation is the launch of Dairylea Dunkers Nachos, featuring salsa-flavoured mini tortilla chips to dunk into Dairylea cheese. Its launch is supported by a £1.4m Dairylea marketing campaign, which Nash says will build on the strong performance of the Dairylea Knights TV campaign and reach over three-quarters of UK households later this year.

At Kerry Foods, a limited- edition Ham ’N’ Cheese with Mexican Mayo flavour has joined the Attack A Snak range.

Described as a "nutritious but fun snack", it is aimed squarely at the brand’s core audience of nine-13-year olds. The ’Snack it your way’ proposition from Attack A Snak encourages tweens to get creative and customise their own wrap to construct their unique snacking experience. And it’s working as the brand is currently one of the fastest-growing kids’ cheese snacks (+18.4% - Nielsen).

As for merchandising cheese snacks, Nash says that where retailers have secondary on-the-go chiller space available, they should ensure they have cheese snacks alongside sandwiches and drinks to make it easy for the shopper. "Secondary on-the-go chiller space should be located at the front of the store so it is easily accessible," she says. Where there is no space for a secondary cheese fixture, she advises that retailers create a distinct ’on-the-go’ section within their main chiller.

Shaking up the flavoured milk market

Earlier this year, Müller Milk & Ingredients reformulated and rebranded its FRijj range.The improved recipe original milkshake is available in Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry, Fudge Brownie, Cookie Dough, Choc Orange and Choco-Hazelnut flavours.
Müller’s research found that dairy consumers specifically enjoyed trying new flavours so it introduced a new limited-edition Choco-Coconut flavour which, this month, is replaced with White Chocolate & Pistachio flavour.
Other changes to the range included the ’40% less sugar’ products being reformulated and rebranded to contain no added sugar.
The revamp is part of Müller’s ambition to become the biggest and best fresh milk and ingredients business in the UK and significantly grow the dairy category, potentially unlocking category growth of £700m by 2020.
Michael Inpong, chief marketing officer at Müller, says: "Milk drinks are seen as a major area of opp-ortunity for the dairy industry, but for continued growth, we need to invest."

Summer of snacking

In a bid to help retailers grow snacking sales this summer, Kerry Foods is running its biggest-ever trade competition, giving retailers 15 chances to win £150-worth of experience vouchers. To enter, retailers need to visit the Kerry Foods trade website www.chilledexperts.com/about-us/competitions and submit their details on the competition page to download the snacking category tips. Retailers can double their chances of winning by tweeting about their entry.
Ian Garrett, sales director for convenience at Kerry Foods, says the company’s data suggests that with the right range, promotion and merchandising, retailers could see an uplift of 8% in their chilled snacking sales during the summer.

Fresh twist on sharing and dipping

Philadelphia has added two new sharing products to its line up.
According to brand owner Mondelez, new Philadelphia Flip & Dip brings a "fun and fresh twist to dipping, combining a unique ritual whereby the product is flipped upside-down to release delicate and lightly whipped Philadelphia topped with one of three delicious sauces". Those sauces are: Sweet Chilli, Mexican Salsa and Caramelised Onion.
Then there’s new Philadelphia Simply Dip, described as an "intense taste experience with a velvety, melt-in-the-mouth quality". The new packs contain creamy, lightly textured Philadelphia in two flavours: Olives and Herbs.
Elena Mallo, marketing manager at Mondelez International, says: "Chilled Dips is one of the fastest-growing snacking categories, but still has headroom for growth due to relatively low customer penetration (51%) when compared to other snacking categories. As a well-known brand, Philadelphia is ideally placed to drive consumers into the category and unlock its potential."
The launch is backed by a ’disruptive’ marketing campaign to drive footfall to chillers, so retailers are advised to stock up to make the most of heightened awareness.
According to Nielsen, Philadelphia is the UK’s number one soft white cheese brand. It is also the brand that gets the most investment in above-the-line advertising. It recently entered a partnership with TV cook Lorraine Pascale to inspire consumers with a range of dinner recipes.

Retailer view

"Within the dairy category, milk is a strong seller for us. It sells because it’s at a good price for our area and it’s always available.
"We’re open seven days a week, from 6am to 11pm, and I’d say we have milk available 99% of the time.
"We have one metre for milk, one metre for cheese and two metres for yogurts.
"A lot of people are buying the grab-and-go type cheese products for snacking the packs where you get crackers, cheese and pickle are selling well.
"We stock a lot of yogurts we have two metres which means 12 shelves of them. We have such a wide range because we are not just a forecourt; we’re a village store. We stock everything from Müller to the local Longley Farm brand."