Say cheese – say convenience! Talking to Wholesale Manager, Amy Fisher, Senior Shopper Marketing Manager at Dairy Crest reports that convenient added value format cheese products such as sliced, grated and snacking are driving growth in the dairy sector, fuelled by consumers’ fast-paced lifestyles and their desire for convenient meal solutions.
The cheese variety closest to the hearts of the Great British consumer is of course Cheddar. Dairy Crest has reinvigorated the nation’s favourite cheddar, Cathedral City, which has been celebrating its 50th birthday in 2016, with a new brand identity, packaging design and activity, spanning the full Cathedral City portfolio. Cathedral City is currently worth over £276m and bought by 59% of UK households. It is bigger than all other branded cheeses combined and is now Britain’s 16th largest grocery brand, up from 18th the previous year.
Cathedral City’s new unified look maintains the iconic burgundy, name and cathedral but brings to life the brand essence of ‘belonging’ with Cathedral City. The new packaging helps re-affirm a consistent identity for the brand and maximise on-shelf stand out at the fixture.
The cheese category’s outstanding star performer is the Cheese Snacking sector, with growth of 11% volume and 7% value, driven by movement away from the traditional three meals a day towards more frequent snacking, as well as a desire for portion control.
Cathedral City Snack Bar, which also bears the Cathedral City masterbrand livery, is a convenient 30g cheese snacking product targeting on-the-go shoppers looking for a nutritious alternative to traditional sweet and savoury snacks such as crisps, nuts, chocolate count-lines and cereal bars. Shaped like a traditional cereal bar to leverage visual recognition cues from adult snackers, Cathedral City Snack Bar is available in Mature and Mature Lighter variants, the latter containing under 100 kcals per bar, in cases of 12 individually bar-coded bars.
Amy Fisher, Senior Shopper Marketing Manager at Dairy Crest says: “Consumers are increasingly shunning traditional snacking products in favour of lower sugar, more natural alternatives. Our research suggests significant numbers of adults are already snacking on cheese in the home but feel there are no products suited to on the go snacking.
Cathedral City Snack Bar offers the opportunity to drive relevance and consideration of cheese as a savoury snacking alternative at these on the go snacking occasions when merchandised alongside other grab and go food items.
“While many consumers see cheese – a naturally nutrient dense food – as part of a healthy diet, we recognised there is still a gap in the market to target more health conscious consumers with a delicious on the go cheese format and the 30g Snack Bar does just that. Our Mature lighter bar has just 99 kcals which makes it a very credible alternative to a small bag of crisps or a cereal bar.”
The Cheese Snacking sector is currently worth £41m in the convenience channel, with volumes growing 8% year on year. Though Kids products hold the lion’s share Adult Snacking products are gaining traction, with Cathedral City Adult Snacking a key driver of growth in the latest year, up 44% Vol. The launch of the new Cathedral City Snack Bar will extend the choice of Adult Snacking Cheese within a category where innovation that satisfies changing consumer needs is important for driving growth.
Elsewhere in the Dairy category Cathedral City has launched a new extended range of Spreadable cheeses, which also carry the new Cathedral City pack design. Two new variants, Extra Mature and Garlic and Herb join the existing Mature.
Dairy Crest is also strong in butters and spreads and has launched tailored butter and spread packs specifically for the Convenience sector. The Utterly Butterly and Country Life packs have been created to help retailers manage their overall outlay and stock levels.
Reflecting a competitive price point, the new tailored PMPs will enable convenience retailers to more effectively compete against everyday low pricing and deep cut promotional strategies regularly employed by supermarkets.
Another key part of Dairy Crest’s portfolio, Vitalite, which last graced TV screens over ten years ago, has undergone a full redesign including modernisation of the brand identity and iconic packaging to emphasise its dairy free credentials, and recipe re-development to deliver a new, great tasting flavour profile.
The free-from market, of which dairy free accounts for half, has for some time been experiencing exceptional growth and is predicted to increase a further 43% by 2020. In a challenging Spreads marketplace dairy free spreads, currently worth £12m, are experiencing positive growth.
Amy Fisher, Senior Shopper Marketing Manager, Dairy Crest comments: “The dairy free market has seen huge expansion over recent years but this growth has yet to be fully unlocked within the Butters & Spreads category.
Research indicates that 12% of the UK population claim to avoid dairy, either due to intolerance or a healthy lifestyle choice. Vitalite positively embraces its dairy free proposition rather than treating it as a necessary compromise.”
With the savvy consumerism trend set to continue it is important for wholesalers to supply retailers with staple products that consumers know and love. Dairy Crest’s investment in its brands means wholesalers can support retailers in providing quality, wellknown dairy products. Recently there has been decisive demand for c-store retailers to look to simple, clearly communicated pricing and promotion with temporary price reductions, round pound deals and price marked packs (PMPs) becoming a preferred option. Dairy Crest offers a range of PMPs across its Cheese, Butters and Spreads portfolios to support wholesalers in meeting consumer demand for competitively priced products.