Dairy in Germany
Positive outlook for cheese
Over the forecast period, cheese is expected to register a solid volume and value performance, with unprocessed cheese set to outpace processed cheese. More consumers are expected to explore the wide variety of products available, as they favour cheese over other less healthy foods.
Convenient formats and flexitarians set to drive growth
The retail volume increase is partly being fuelled by the trend towards more plant-based and protein-rich diets. German consumers are likely to continue to scale back their meat consumption as they increasingly adopt a “flexitarian” lifestyle.
Soft cheese is set to post the highest growth
Soft cheese tailor-made for barbecuing witnessed strong growth in demand towards the end of the review period, because more consumers sought alternatives to meat and sausages when barbecuing. Barbecue cheese is included under soft cheese, and is expected to post the highest volume CAGR and value CAGR at constant 2018 prices over the forecast period.
Private label maintains its lead
Combined private label continued to lead cheese in value terms in 2018. The main reason for the strength of private label in cheese is the fact that many consumers do not consider branding important in this category; instead prioritising the type of cheese, especially in unprocessed cheese.
Shift to unprocessed cheese
Despite challenges for some, cheese companies in Germany certainly do not face a crisis, as Germans are increasingly enthusiastic about cheese consumption, and increasingly view many cheeses as healthy and highly conducive to their eating habits, particularly snacking. There is a shift underway, but it is a move away from processed cheese and towards unprocessed varieties; not away from cheese altogether.
Predatory competition is expected to increase
Cheese is one of the most fragmented categories within packaged food, with various different regional and international cheese varieties and small, large and private label lines all competing. Besides the strong domestic competition, the presence of several large international manufacturers fuels the competition in cheese.
Milk consumption set to decline in volume terms
After price increases in 2017 led to strong current value growth for milk, stabilisation was seen in 2018, with a small value decline. In volume terms, milk continued to decline in 2018.
Milk alternatives expected to see the highest value growth
As sales of cow’s milk, a traditionally highly consumed staple in German households, continued to falter, other milk alternatives vastly outperformed this category in 2018. The higher penetration and popularity of milk alternatives made these products attractive to consumers.
Flavoured milk drinks is projected to see dynamic development
Flavoured milk drinks benefited from a high level of innovation in 2017 and 2018, thus registering strong performances in both volume and current value terms. More consumers regard flavoured milk drinks as a convenient alternative to soft drinks and drinking yoghurt, with the launch of new products helping to stimulate sales.
Private label will continue to lead
Private label lines from the four major German grocery retailers clearly lead drinking milk products. Aldi and Lidl in particular take advantage of competitive prices and promotional activities, mainly in milk.
A shift towards full fat fresh milk and milk alternatives
With the struggles of dairy milk showing no end and the competition for the limited growth heating up, it is expected that companies will seek to evolve and pursue opportunities for growth wherever they exist. It is likely that companies in cow’s milk will look to devote greater finances and production capability to the sale of full fat fresh milk; the recent demand for and projected value CAGR over the forecast period stand in stark contrast to the consistent declines for fat-free and semi-skimmed milk.
Increased focus on free-range and non-genetically modified
More Germans are anticipated to focus on quality and be increasingly aware of ethical issues regarding the treatment of animals, feeding and transportation. Therefore, so-called “Heumilch” (grass milk or pasture milk) is expected to be increasingly important, as German consumers are becoming more concerned about the feeding of cows.
Healthy and trendy
The market for convenient and healthy food is more competitive than ever. Even “healthy” yoghurt has to offer added value in order to attract consumers.
Plain yoghurt set to see the highest growth
Over the review period, Greek yoghurt was a major growth driver in plain yoghurt. It emerged as an ultimate health food, given its versatility, high protein content and modest calorie count.
Sour milk products expected to continue its positive development
Sour milk products such as kefir and buttermilk showed the strongest volume and current value growth over the review period, as consumers sought healthy drinks with moderate calories. In addition, the sour, fresh taste of these products appeals to more consumers than in the past.
Danone and Müller continue to lead, but the competition intensifies
Yoghurt is led by two established players, Danone Deutschland and Molkerei Alois Müller. These players offer well-known brands, with Müller adopting a single-brand strategy and Danone offering a range of health and wellness brands, led by probiotic yoghurt brands Activia and Actimel, in spoonable yoghurt and drinking yoghurt respectively.
Growing presence of private label
One of the key developments in yoghurt and sour milk products is the growing presence of private label. In 2017 and 2018, several new private label products were launched addressing current consumer trends.
New product launches and price polarisation expected
Yoghurt manufacturers in Germany focus on frequent launches and discontinuations because brand loyalty in yoghurt is low, with consumers keen to try new flavours; yoghurt is the dairy product which sees the fastest change in product selection. In addition, with health and wellness expected to remain a key sales driver, the forecast period is likely to see non-dairy milk alternatives expanding in yoghurt, as well as reduced sugar and organic yoghurt.
Different developments in other dairy
In 2018, other dairy was defined by two different stories. On the one hand, chilled dairy desserts and snacks continued to experience high growth, despite growing consumer health-consciousness.
Health concerns to limit growth potential
Increasing consumer concern with health and nutrition presents a potential threat to development across other dairy categories, including contributing to the slower growth in chilled dairy desserts and snacks over the forecast period. Furthermore, categories with an old-fashioned image, such as coffee whiteners and condensed milk, are set to see ongoing declines, with cream also seeing stagnating sales as it struggles to appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers.
Organic set to outperform other health and wellness segments
Organic products are expected to outperform more traditional offerings in the forecast period. However, other dairy is also characterised by the decline in fortified/functional and reduced fat products; for instance, consumers prefer to indulge properly, and do not want to choose reduced fat desserts.
Clean eating trend to impact players in other dairy
Growth opportunities within other dairy are largely confined to chilled dairy desserts, chilled snacks and fromage frais and quark; three categories which experienced growth in recent years, whilst much of the rest of the category struggled. Companies operating within these categories thus saw most of the available gains.
Disruption expected from non-dairy alternatives
Similar to drinking milk products, other dairy has begun to see an impact from the growth of non-dairy alternatives made using plants, or lactose-free products, particularly cream. However, whilst sales of products such as almond milk and coconut milk boomed within drinking milk products over the review period, the same cannot be said about such products in other dairy.
Private label will continue to lead
Private label has a strong presence in other dairy, with major grocery retailers Aldi, Rewe and Lidl comprising the top three players. This is due to the fact that other dairy includes basic dairy products such as condensed milk and cream; therefore, it is difficult for brand manufacturers to claim product advantages over private label.
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