The Canadean Dairy Innovation Summit, held in Amsterdam April 13-14, saw dairy experts explore key industry topics including ideas for new product development and new market opportunities.
Tanvi Savara, consumer insight analyst at Canadean, outlined five top consumer and innovation trends for dairy in 2016, which include targeting niche consumer groups, creating new occasions for dairy consumption, and snacking on the go.
Savara said that from a global standpoint, drinkable yogurt has reported the fastest growth in terms of market volume over the last five years, and this is largely due to its positioning as a convenient snack on the go, and also as an ideal vehicle to deliver functional health benefits.
The five key trends Savara covered in her presentation were: daypart targeting, snackifying, sensory pleasure, protein power, and alternative milks.
She said that redefining dairy consumption occasions by targeting new dayparts is being used to boost consumer engagement.
“It's all about meeting demand for greater personalization today,” she said.
“Our consumer research shows that time-specific products have appeal: 27% of consumers we surveyed globally came to find a food or drink product that is advertized for a specific time of day or night appeal.”
Savara said that this creates new avenues to expand product reach by targeting niche-specific consumption moments.
Therefore, she said, “UK brands should target the mid-morning occasion and boost consumption by positioning yogurt as a wholesome breakfast alternative. Manufacturers in the US should target after-dinner occasions and take inspiration from the British brands to offer dessert-inspired yogurt and benefit from yogurt's healthy indulgence status.”She noted that Canadean research shows UK consumers are more likely to snack on yogurt after dinner than Americans. A majority of Americans claim to snack on yogurt between breakfast and lunch.
Products she showed as examples were Yoplait's Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek yogurt, in the US, and Alpina Cafe Selections, from the US, which she said claims to be the first yogurt line infused with real Colombian coffee and not coffee flavoring.
Milk for sleep
Another area of daypart targeting was nighttime.
“We know that milk association as being a natural sleeping aid isn't new, we've seen previous marketing campaigns try to leverage this, for example the California Milk Board in the US, and also the popularity of turmeric-based milk beverages in some Asian cultures.”
She also mentioned niche milks such as the night milk powder from Germany that claims higher melatonin content due to cows milked at night.
Options for cheese
Savara also pointed to cheese with different ingredients or flavors, which could “reposition cheese away from being just a savory snack, or a meal component into an ideal after-dinner treat, as this creates opportunities to expand.”
Two products she cited as examples were Megamilk Royce cheese dessert from Japan, which offers individually wrapped cheese triangles made of chocolate and cream cheese, and Philadelphia's pumpkin spice cream cheese, which was launched to coincide with autumn last year.
The second category for innovation Savara spoke about was meeting the demand for healthy, convenient snacks with new launches and product re-positioning.
“We've seen dairy brands launch drinkable snacks that are positioned as being convenient and filling, by adding ingredients like added fiber and fruits to have a ‘fuller-for-longer’ effect.”
She said that such products have particularly high appeal amongst younger demographics, as well as creating new avenues to make dairy, and particularly milk, more engaging.
“An interesting product that actually targets this space is Slingshot, from the US, which Canadean has also identified as one of our favorite innovations from 2015.”
The product is an all-natural yogurt protein drink with a crunchy shot made from oats, chia seeds and nuts wrapped around the neck of the bottle. It's positioned as a pre- or a post-workout boost for busy fitness enthusiasts.
Savara said it also offers a convenient breakfast option to active consumers.
“We've seen protein go mainstream as major brands launch products that leverage dairy's naturally high protein content,” Savara pointed out as she highlighted the trend for protein power.
She said that it’s likely cheese will become a part of the category, such as Fit to Go cottage cheese from the US.
“All-natural high-protein milks are likely to emerge, currently being exemplified with the launch of The Complete Dairy from Australia, which naturally boosts its protein content; in fact, it claims to have 70% more protein than regular milks on the market.”
Other products mentioned in the category were Xcel Milk (UK), Danone for Men (Bulgaria), Powerful Yogurt (US), Oikos (US), Fairlife (US) and Mars High Protein (UK).
Savara’s next category for trends was milk alternatives.
“Canadean's market data shows that over the next five years, milk alternatives will take the lead in terms of market volume growth in seven out of the eight key markets that we have identified for dairy around the world,” she noted.
She said that white milk consumption is likely to continue to decline in the west, and that non-soy dairy alternatives are gaining popularity, with a new wave of innovation in milks derived from nuts, and, on a lesser scale, rice, grains and seeds.
She noted the development of a new category of vegetable-derived milks, such as Veggemo, from Canada, which she said claims to be the first and the only non-dairy alternative made from vegetables, as it contains pea protein, tapioca and starch from white potatoes.
Other products noted were both from the US: Go Veggie lactose & soy free bars, and Ben & Jerry's non-dairy, which is made from almond milk.
In this category, sensory pleasures, Savara spoke of generating excitement around dairy through unique flavor innovation and indulgent textures.
“Our key trends are sensory fusion, experimentation, and premiumization and indulgence,” she said.
She pointed to yogurt brands and ice cream being launched and breaking the mold by going spicy.
Examples cited were The Chaat Company, which takes its inspiration from Indian street food, Chobani Flip Sriracha Mango and Chipotle Pineapple flavors.
Pierre's Chef’s Signature Holé Molé ice cream, which combines cinnamon ice cream with chili choco chips, and chocolate-covered toffee pieces in a molé fudge swirl.
Into the Future
Savara concluded by talking about concepts Canadean identified as potential ideas for future innovation – lab-grown milk and flavored milk pods.
She mentioned the synthetic milk concept, Muufri, and flavored milk powders in small capsules for use in single-serve coffee-style machines to make flavored milks on demand.