Sainsbury's stocks functional milk in UK

Related tags Milk Dairy crest

New milk drinks fortified with vitamins are to be sold by Britain's
third biggest supermarket, Sainsbury's, as functional dairy
continues to break into the UK's mainstream food sector, writes
Chris Mercer.

Bravo! Brands, the UK subsidiary of Bravo! Foods, has struck a deal to supply Sainsbury's with its flavoured milk 'Slammers'.

The drinks are enriched with a variety of vitamins and contain 4.25g of fat per 250ml pack. They are also produced as UHT drinks, giving them an average nine-month shelf-life.

UHT milk is traditionally unpopular with British consumers, who generally prefer fresh milk products, yet the three flavours used in the slammers - strawberry, chocolate and banana - should improve their taste.

Bravo also has a range of other Slammer drinks, such as Pro Slammers containing double the protein and fortified with 10 vitamins, which provide room for launch extensions if the Sainsbury's deal goes well.

Even so, the initial agreement with Sainsbury's marks another step forward in the growing trend for functional and added value milk products in the UK.

Dairy producers are increasingly looking to such products in order to re-invigorate a sector that consumers have come to see as a commodity, as well as ease pressure on operating margins.

"With only 1.7g fat per 100ml, Slammers are the natural choice for kids and mums while providing retailers with healthy sales and profit margins,"​ said David Diggens, director of Drink Brokers, the firm appointed to handle UK sales and marketing of Slammers.

Dairy Crest, one of Britain's top three dairy processors, recently leapt into functional milk by launching St Ivel Advance, fortified with omega-3, at up-market retailer Waitrose.

Dairy Crest plans to launch Advance nationwide in September. It contains half the recommended daily intake of omega-3 and, similar to Slammers, is targeted at children and parents.

Both Slammers and Advance will be more expensive than 'normal' fresh milk. Dairy Crest said its product would be 30 to 40 per cent more expensive, while a 250ml Slammer will be 59p.

Meanwhile, Danish dairy firm Arla Foods, who's UK subsidiary is also one of Britain's top three dairy processors, announced that its ingredients business has launched a new functional milk protein called Osteopontin.

The protein is also found in human milk and Arla has targeted its new ingredient at infant formulas.

The UK is one of Europe's biggest functional foods markets, growing by 523 per cent from 1997-2003 to reach around £1.2bn in 2003.

The growth prompted Britain's Food and Drink Federation to launch a 'Lifestyle and Dietary Trends Industry Group' in April to help firms developing functional foods.

Related topics Ingredients Fresh Milk

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