Dairy to be different
Dairy is a traditional category, largely dictated by local consumer preferences. That plays to our strengths as a worldwide company, embedded in national cultures. The segment is opening up however, and Givaudan is bringing global knowledge and technology to bear in innovative ways, giving consumers diverse taste experiences designed to resonate at a local level.
In dairy we cover the full spectrum of frozen and fluid products: from dairy drinks, yoghurt and ice cream to instant and chilled desserts, cream cheese, and spreads. Historically, in key dairy product lines such as yoghurt and ice cream, practically every country has its own leading brands. Consequently, we work with both independent companies and multinationals with a local focus to satisfy these national preferences, delivering new concepts that meet consumers’ desires for ‘new’.
Givaudan’s local presence reflects Givaudan’s commitment to always being at our customers’ side – we have more coverage globally than any other company in our industry. Europe, for example, is a very fragmented marketplace, but here alone we have five development centres across the continent, serving each market from its home base.
This is mirrored across the world, with multiple development centres in Asia and North America, and now new sites planned for Northern Africa. The advantage of having local experts is that we get a great deal of intimacy with the regions and their national markets. In terms of the dairy category, this kind of coverage is critical, as the difference between dairy preferences in one country versus another is huge, so we can ensure local relevance.
Despite dairy’s traditional profile, Givaudan is at the heart of innovation in the category and new influences are making their mark. Trend developments are causing shifts in the shape of dairy products, particularly in the area of health and wellness, which has been a key driver for consumers for a decade. Whereas in the past people may have been willing to compromise on taste in order to gain health benefits, today consumers want ‘value products’, where they can find taste and flavour, as well as reduced sugar, fat and calories. Emotional health and well-being also plays its part, with the notion of ‘indulgence’ factoring heavily: ice cream, as an example, can be considered a perfect ‘comfort food’. Around the world, consumers have an emotional need for comfort food. In Europe, as well as other parts of the world, people have experienced economic and social challenges over the last few years, and want to take moments of delight, to switch off and indulge in the food and beverages they eat. So they still want products lower in fat, sugar and salt, but they also look to these products for an instant reward. Givaudan can help answer these needs with programmes such as TasteEssentials® Dairy, as well as our TasteSolutions® platform, which offer the technology and know-how to deliver indulgent, comforting products with a healthier profile.
Dairy drinks in the Middle East
Health and wellness is a mass influencer of eating and lifestyle habits and is spreading from more mature western societies to developing markets. In Africa, and especially the Middle East, there are wealthier, middle‑class populations emerging, demanding more health-conscious food and beverage products. In the Middle East, there is also an explosion in choice driven by younger adults, who are turning to dairy drinks as a really popular alternative to more traditional local beverages.
Givaudan leveraged this development in early 2014, with a programme that brought our expertise in dairy drinks to Europe, Africa and Middle East markets. We were able to show these markets our ready-to-drink concepts in all kinds of dairy drinks – milk, soya, yoghurt – and tailor these to favourite national flavours and recipes. The focus is local, but it illustrates how we are able to open up new categories within dairy, as trends dictate the need for innovation to meet consumer aspirations.
White mass appeal
A further illustration of shifting patterns can be found in North America, where Greek yoghurt has created a new culture in the region’s yoghurt space – we’re now seeing developments such as Icelandic yoghurt, or Skyr, to give it its real name, also affecting the category. For Givaudan this is driving our own research into the ‘white mass’ of yoghurt products. We’re looking at ways of enhancing yoghurt white mass, developing a complete taste experience in a ‘total product’ approach, combining flavours, ingredients and texture profiles to give customers truly innovative and delicious products.
Even in local, traditional markets, dairy offers dynamic opportunities for Givaudan, as trends collide and combine, driving consumers to seek ever-greater diversity, enjoying healthier, taste-rich, indulgent options.