How Arla engaged shoppers in a low-interest category

Lena Roland

The UK consumes 4.5 billion litres of milk every year and the product enjoys 98% household penetration while being consumed, on average, 11 times a week. But that very ubiquity also means it is a commodified, low-interest category.

The milk market "is immense" and the industry is "an extremely efficient" one, according to Helen Dargue, shopper marketing controller, Arla Foods UK - 1.5 billion bottles of milk can be produced daily in a very large dairy factory - but it is not growing. Volumes are actually declining slightly.

Sector challenges

Speaking at the Omnishopper International conference, held in London in November 2016, Dargue outlined some of the challenges facing the sector:

  • Milk drinking occasions are in decline.
  • Younger generations are consuming the least.
  • Milk is losing value due to falling price - this is driven by retail price reductions.
  • Price wars means milk became too cheap.
  • The rise of dairy alternatives such as soya milk threatens consumption.
  • The industry has lost its rich heritage due to a massive shift from local to mass production.
  • Milk has lost its connection to the local community as milkman deliveries declined to just 5% in 2013.