Article about what is now happening in the dairy market, in what direction the dairy industry is developing and what the producer needs to do to be competitive.
What are the main trends in the dairy industry?
During the “coronary crisis” some of the trends have adjusted or slowed down, but the main directions have retained their priority.
The first trend is products for healthy eating (HES) and the growing number of adherents of organic products. What is particularly important to emphasize: HVA and organic are not identical. An adherent of HVAW will never drink beer, but a representative of ORGANICS can safely drink organic beer with organic chips. This detail is very important for building the right communication and delivery to the target audience the right benefits.
The second – a special emphasis on quality. Quality along with safety – certainly “eternal” trend, but in recent years, it becomes a special conscious meaning, as the consumer has changed a lot. The shopping shelf has become fuller and the modern buyer has become more conscious in his choice of food and more careful in assessing its quality and safety in various aspects. And digitalization (digitization) plays a very important role here: even now, the active consumer buys everything, relying to some degree on the Internet. I don’t mean that everyone orders from online stores, but a lot of people are already buying only after reading product reviews. For example in China, more than 70% of the active Internet population does this. And if the producer who wants to sell on the Celestial market is not in the key social networks, it is not positively noticed in safe food chats, he has practically no chance to sell his products. For us this is still the future, but there is already a growing generation who “lives” in the network and gets the main information from there. Therefore, manufacturers who have not yet made themselves known in these segments, very soon will begin to lose to those who are actively promoting themselves online, and not afraid of honest feedback in the form of customer feedback. Yes, it is not always positive, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, the consumer often evaluates the average data, which allows for an objective opinion. The more reviews about the product, the more popular it will become.
The third is convenience. You should always remember about the availability of your products in different formats (volume, form), but also keep track of the latest desires of the “digitalized” consumer. A few years ago, the term “one-armedness” was introduced. A generation has appeared that does not want to let go of its communicator, while with the other hand the representative of the “millenials+” is trying to open any product and satisfy the still-preserved human need for food, without distracting from the phone. Here it is important to have the right packaging, a cover that easily “flies off” and other similar solutions that facilitate access to the product, but also reliably protect it. Are there many such packages on the shelves of Russian stores? I’m afraid there are none. Why has format differentiation become important? “Layered” demographics of recent decades and urbanization have given us very different households: from large households that need “family” packages of anything and everything, to moderate families (2+1, 1+1) and a growing number of singles of all ages who just need (!) small packages. This variety of formats requires the flexibility (flexibilty) of filling lines, which is often neglected by businesses. And the fundamental reason for such mistakes is also clear: in Russia the equipment at milk processing plants is most often purchased by engineers or managers without the participation of marketing specialists, as a result the choice usually stops at the line with a single or “hard to change” format, because it was cheaper. Certainly, the plant, buying such a line, saves money, but it loses the fight for the buyer, because it can not, for example, pack products in packaging of different volumes and does not respond to consumer demands. And here the marketing department cannot help, because it is difficult to organize competent marketing, having drinking milk in a one-liter bottle only.
By the way, the bottle is one of the economically unprofitable formats, especially for small plants. The gable top carton is a multi-format carton: you can pack milk in an ordinary carton bag, in a bag with a lid, or in a more innovative version – a bag with a wide lid. Of course, each element of such packaging costs extra money, but you can attract more customers with different needs. On the other hand, the producer has a choice, for example, in case of a crisis he can give up the lid for a while and make the package cheaper. This does not work for the bottle. Unfortunately, the bottle cap cannot be turned off, and in case of a crisis – and this spring it happens quite suddenly, as we have seen – the market will have nothing to respond to. Therefore, the factories that work with such packaging have to take all these features into account from the very beginning.
What advice can we give to producers of dairy products?
First, start thinking in marketing categories. Second, do it by constantly analyzing the state of the market. Conduct regular brand health measurements, talk to representatives of networks where your products are sold, organize small focus groups, and collect feedback about products on the Internet. Of course, there is a risk of getting unreliable information, but it’s easy to cut out. The sooner you start doing this, the sooner you will accumulate a database of quality information that you can use to promote your brand and create new products that are in demand in the market. Third, it’s a good idea to choose aseptic, multi-format packaging. This will help extend the shelf life of the product and, if necessary, adjust costs during the production of dairy products.