YAZOO is the UK’s number one flavoured milk drink and the best-known product from FrieslandCampina, the world’s fifth largest dairy business. YAZOO’s brand value recently reached a record £60m, driven by YAZOO KiDS, a no added sugar or artificial sweeteners product. With YAZOO extending its range into Tesco Express and winning distribution with Limited Edition YAZOO Choc Caramel in Morrisons, Tesco and Asda, YAZOO continues to build on its success in the grocery channel.

Wayne Thompson, Business Unit Controller for Out of Home for YAZOO spoke to Grocery Trader:

“YAZOO is what we’re best known for here in the UK, it’s a £60million brand and is outperforming the flavoured milk category by five percentage points, but we have a breadth of private label products too. We’ve just launched Chocomel, the Netherlands’ best kept secret, a luxury chocolate milk drink, in the UK and it’s going down a storm. It’s a very exciting time for the company.”

Convenience and out of home are YAZOO’s traditional heartland, says Wayne Thompson, but the multiples are increasingly important, with new listings and strong sales. YAZOO’s volume sales in the multiples has grown 20.6% in the past 12 months1.

It sounds a demanding role, but Wayne has a good team: “I am very lucky to have a team who support the customer agenda and do a lot of the heavy lifting on day to day category management. I get involved a few times a year with each customer, normally at the start in the planning phase and then at a quarterly or half year review to make sure we’re on track. I also get involved with Customer Range Reviews and Brand Planning days. From my previous role as a buyer, this was how I liked to interact with suppliers so I try to make that the way we work here.”

YAZOO’s best-selling flavours are chocolate, strawberry and banana, says Wayne, accounting for 89% of core sales, “but we also know how important it is to keep the dairy drinks fixture fresh and new. Nothing attracts customers like NPD and innovations from trusted household brands.” YAZOO Choc Caramel follows the successful launch of Choc Mint, which became a £1m flavour in just five months.

As consumers pay more attention to their heath, Dairy Drinks has benefited as a category, with 15% of consumers switching to milk drinks last year from other soft drinks2. The figure rises to 38% among those who recognise flavoured milk as a healthier alternative to fizzy drinks2.

There are other exciting opportunities too, says Wayne: “Functional health and coffee are two areas in particular that are impacting on the category and we have some upcoming coffee launches this year. Watch this space!”

Another growing trend is the take home occasion: “We’ve done a lot of consumer research recently and shoppers have been pleasantly surprised by how refreshing YAZOO is served in a glass with ice, hence our one litre option, that can be kept at home in the fridge.”

The Sugar Tax and the rules about advertising to children have affected soft drinks, but Wayne Thompson and colleagues are confident about the future: “We’re a step ahead of the game as YAZOO KiDS has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, and contains less than 100 calories. We’ve also reduced the sugar in YAZOO original by 15% over the past ten years while maintaining the same great taste. Plus, as category number one, we continue to invest in 360-degree marketing, focusing especially on digital, to keep the category top of mind, and work with our team to ensure they always comply with the advertising rules.”

YAZOO KiDS recently relaunched with a new pack. Still the only flavoured milk with no added sugar or sweeteners, it’s now a £2.9 million brand and growing. YAZOO KiDS is the only flavoured milk to meet the Change4life children’s snacking guidelines of less than 100 calories per bottle and is schools approved and CQUIN compliant. There’s more in store, says Wayne: “We’re supporting Change4Life in a move that will see the ‘Good Choices’ badge alongside bottles of Strawberry and Banana packs in store and in our marketing mix across the country.”

Wayne and the team work with the mults to maximise the dairy drinks opportunity:

“Through regular category updates, segmentation analysis, monitoring and reviewing upcoming trends we are able to advise customers onthe best way to grow the dairy drinks category. Because we are impartial and don’t play in every segment, customers can have full trust in our opinions and recommendations, so we’re often positioned as category captains.”

FrieslandCampina work with their retail partners to demystify and simplify the category and ensure they have the right products in the right place: “We also offer customers tailored POS and encourage them to use branded merchandise such as chiller trays to help communicate the product benefit to shoppers and the call to action to “Grab a YAZOO.”

Speaking of grabbing, Food to Go is one of the biggest opportunities for YAZOO, says Wayne, expected to grow to £21.2bn in 2019. Kids’ Lunchboxes are also part of the Food to Go scenario. Available in a 200ml bottle, YAZOO KiDS fits perfectly in a lunchbox, and lasts all day out of the fridge. Back to School is another key occasion for milk drinks, and YAZOO in particular, with a key part of the audience being teens.

With its high milk content and calcium, protein and vitamin B2, YAZOO helps keep students fuller for longer.

FrieslandCampina is actively promoting YAZOO in retail with Price Marked Packs, says Wayne: “PMPS are an essential part of YAZOO’s convenience strategy, and the formats available are some of our best-sellers. In the current economic climate, consumers want to ensure their purchases are good value and they are receiving the best product for their money. One third of shoppers believe Price Marked Packs are cheaper, and 59% of retailers say PMPs sell faster than non-PMPsa. It’s important to drive brand loyalty, and if shoppers know they can buy their favourite milk drink at the same price every time, it increases their confidence in the retailer and leads to increased basket spend.”

Continuing the promotional programme, FrieslandCampina have just launched the YAZOO KiDS Stronger Bones Challenge, demonstrating milk’s importance for children: “Our consumer PR and vlogger content is expected to reach millions of parents. We’re also continuing to engage with our target audience – loyal customers, as well as new buyers, via our digital channels, where we have an always-on approach.

“At the moment we’re focusing on our Chocomel launch, which has been extremely popular with retailers and customers alike. Along with our drive for YAZOO KiDS, where we’re encouraging parents to include flavoured milk into their family’s diets to ensure they receive the everyday goodness of the product, we also have a new milk drink product launching in the convenience channel this autumn.

As the number one milk drink, there’s still plenty of headroom for YAZOO to grow, says Wayne: “With some exciting campaigns and innovation coming your way, we’ve got an exciting 12 months ahead.”

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