How dairy brands can gain a competitive edge by reducing time to market

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Esko said brands must demonstrate agility when packaging dairy products. Pic: Esko
Esko said brands must demonstrate agility when packaging dairy products. Pic: Esko

Related tags Packaging Dairy

With so many dairy products vying for attention, retail competition is high, and standing out on-shelf can be difficult.

Other obstacles include the rise of plant-based alternatives, low price points, and supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19.

So, how do dairy brands not just survive, but continue to thrive in spite of these challenges?

Packaging dairy products for agility

Belgium-headquartered global provider of integrated software and hardware solutions Esko said in 2020, brands supplying direct to retail saw strong cheese and butter sales as demand for in-home cooking and baking grew. Meanwhile, demand for dairy products in foodservice dropped, so brands started to diversify their offerings for retail.

In both cases, the importance of packaging to best protect and present the product, while being omnichannel relevant, grew along with the number of SKUs and product content.

To capture a share of the global dairy products market, which Report Linker predicts will reach $587.5bn by 2027, brands must demonstrate agility when packaging dairy products. Speed to market is critical as they launch and relaunch products, add line extensions, or venture into new categories.

Rather than considering packaging the last step in new product development,Esko said smart brands are leading the field by using new technologies to streamline packaging design and manage workflow digitally and frontload it into the new product development (NPD) process.

Streamlining product and packaging NPD process for success

By taking control of the print and packaging workflow, through web-based software from Esko, such as WebCenter and digital asset management solution, MediaBeacon, dairy brands can consolidate all files and processes required in print, packaging, and e-commerce development to eradicate wasted time on administration.

Esko_Packaging_GroceryStore 2
Pic: Esko

A recent survey by digital intelligence company ABBYY found, for example, UK employees waste more than 40 working days a year on routine tasks that could be done by technology1​. Digital asset management (DAM) systems, such as MediaBeacon, allow users to easily locate and adapt existing files and assets, making it simple to introduce line extensions or adapt promotional brand messaging and graphics around seasonal events.

Web-based workflow systems, like WebCenter, digitize the task management needed to manipulate these assets and are accessible from anywhere, at any time, ensuring full brand consistency for dairy multinationals that work with geographically disparate in-house and external teams to develop new product lines and branded packaging solutions.

Adding value by building brand loyalty and trust

An automated workflow is key to increasing speed to market. But once this speed is achieved, where do brands experience the value?

Esko said the advantage for dairy brands is time freed up from administration to focus on high quality, effective design and marketing. As e-commerce continues to grow – Statista projects global e-tail revenues to grow to $6.5tn in 20222​, dairy brands must adapt on-pack graphics and branding to ensure messaging ‘speaks’ to the consumer directly in the home as effectively as it does from the shelf. For example, the addition of QR codes linking to further information on provenance, recipes and recycling, and the ability to update these seamlessly, are impressive tools to have in a marketing toolkit.

Brands that can quickly update packaging through easy access to existing files and assets have a distinct advantage, Esko said, adding that a digitalized workflow that integrates product and packaging NPD takes the headache out of moving products from ideation to realization in record time.

However, the company concluded, for brands operating in an industry beset with constant challenges and tight margins, the real advantage of a digitized packaging workflow is its ability to strengthen brand position and build consumer loyalty and trust to future-proof against the challenges of tomorrow.

1. ABBYY, UK employees waste over 40 working days a year each on tasks that could be automated by robots, according to new ABBYY survey, 20212. Statista, Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2023, Nov 2020