Refreshment may still be at the heart of any decent drinks offer, but today’s consumers seem increasingly demanding when it comes to their purchasing decisions, seeking function wherever it can be found.
Where there’s demand there’s opportunity, and for retailers there could be scope to boost basket spend through functional drinks.
Nyree Chambers, head of marketing at Grace Foods, the firm behind enriched milk brand Nurishment, reckons retailers can boost sales from their dairy drinks fixture by “meeting growing shopper demand for functional drinks”.
She said the sub-category offers “great taste”, distinctive flavours and added nutrients, in a convenient format.
When it comes time for retailers to rationalise their soft drinks range, Chambers suggested that form and function should both be considered as customers demand more from their drinks than previously.
“Flavoured milk shoppers have become more discerning when it comes to their choice of functional drinks,” she said.
“Taste and flavour remain important, but they want these drinks to do much more than quench thirst. They’re looking to them to help fuel their busy lifestyles and provide much-needed nutrition which keeps them on the go.”
Michelle Frost, general manager for Mars Chocolate Drinks also reckons there’s money to be made in the milk market as consumers seek out soft drink options that offer more than just refreshment.
Frost said there is “no doubt” the protein trend is here to stay, which is good news for flavoured and enhanced milk sales.
“Within the flavoured milk market, the specialised flavoured milk segment continues to show the most growth at 7% and now accounts for £68.8m of total value sales,” she said.
This trend reflects continued demand and new product development within the milk drinks category, according to Frost, who said there is an appetite for “more innovative flavours and specialised milks.”
“Protein consumption is on the increase and has made the transition from niche to mainstream,” she said.
“We are keen to offer consumers more choices on how to enjoy their favourite chocolate brands.
“Our bars and high protein milk drink combine great taste, familiar brands and clearly labelled protein content to meet growing consumer demand.”