With its MILRAM brand, Germany's largest dairy cooperative is now also launching vegan puddings, a cocoa drink, and a rice dessert. Products in other categories will follow by the first quarter of the new year at the latest.
For years, a strong change in values has been emerging in society, politics and the economy, which is also reflected in changing eating habits, for example in the use of vegan products.
"As a company, we also see advantages for ourselves in this development, because as a dairy cooperative we have in-depth know-how and now have the opportunity to also participate in this market with our own products," Ingo Müller, CEO of DMK Group, said.
"Today, it is no longer simply about imitating animal products, but about tasty, healthy and varied concepts. Even if milk alternatives currently still account for 7% of sales on the white line: The topic is an unstoppable trend and, as one of the largest suppliers to the German retail sector, we want to help shape this development."
MILRAM is kicking off with a range of desserts. MILRAM's oat-based pudding in vanilla and chocolate flavors, for example, features the natural taste of bourbon vanilla or selected Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa. There are no preservatives, artificial flavors or flavor enhancers, and DMK said the ingredient list is short. The MILRAM oat-based rice dessert comes in a 1,000g soft pack, and also has no artificial flavorings, preservatives or flavor enhancers. The new desserts are produced at the Erfurt site.
With the oat-based MILRAM Kakao Drink, the brand is also launching a variant of one of the most successful products in the mixed milk drink segment. Classic MILRAM Kakao is already the market leader in foodservice throughout Germany, with a market share of 19% (Geo-Marketing, 1st half 2021). The plant-based alternative is produced at DMK's Zeven site.
In addition, the company plans to launch further new products in the retail sector in the future.
"The development of plant-based products is an absolute must in order to meet consumer needs and remain competitive. But despite all the change: milk remains our core business. After all, DMK doesn't have milk in its name for nothing," Müller said.
"The average consumer of DMK products does not eat a purely vegan diet, but they are part of the large mass of nutrition-conscious people who integrate plant-based alternative products as an additive in their everyday lives. For us, it is therefore a matter of creating an overall portfolio that offers different consumer groups products that fit their respective eating habits and accompany them in everyday life."
Since 2017, the buyer base of plant-based milk alternatives has recorded continuous, double-digit growth; likewise, spending by buyer households is increasing significantly (GfK Consumer Scan).
DMK said among current MILRAM buyers, there are already an above-average number of buyers of vegan products and thus also an above-average number of consumers willing to try them. While in Germany as a whole the buyer reach is 34.7%, 40.3% of MILRAM buyers already buy milk alternatives (GfK Consumer Scan).