The latest numbers from Information Resources Inc. and USDA offer more good news about milk sales. During the most recent 12-week period, unit milk sales were up about .8% while dollar sales grew about 1.5%. That’s according to IRI’s F/D/MX measure for food stores, drug stores and mass merchandisers other than Wal-Mart. The full year numbers from USDA also look good; total milk volume for calendar year 2006 up 1%.
Looking at lowfat and skim milk, and at flavored milk the picture gets even rosier.
IRI reports that lowfat and skim sales were up nearly 2% by unit sales and dollar sales jumped nearly 2.6% in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. In fact, sales of lowfat milk by unit have grown in each of the last three quarters. That’s quite remarkable, since this IRI measure does not include convenience stores, or foodservice.
According to USDA numbers (graphics were not yet available for this issue), total flavored milk volume was up 1% in 2006. But looking at IRI’s F/D/MX, flavored milk rose 3.6% for 2006. Looking specifically at mass merchandisers, it jumped 14%.
Sorted by flavors, chocolate is still dominant, but the biggest percentage growth in 2006 came from the second largest flavor-strawberry, which was up 10.9%
Looking at the top brands, some interesting observations can be made. Private Label continues to rule nearly all milk subcategories, with more than 60% market share in F/D/MX for white milk and 30% even for flavored milk, but in both cases brands are chipping away.
The pie chart to the right represents the top five brands by dollar sales for lowfat and skim milk. Private label had almost 62% share, but that was down nearly 1% compared to a year ago. Lactaid has long been the leading brand nationwide, but looking at the two largest national organic brands, we see where the fast growth is. Horizon Organic and Organic Valley combined now account for 3.44% of the market, which is a bit more than Lactaid’s share.
Unit sales are not shown in the pie chart, but those numbers for these leading brands also grew considerably in 2006. The top four brands grew unit sales anywhere from 4.3 % to a whopping 25% for Organic Valley. It should be noted that all of these top brands but one experienced sales growth for the period.
Keep an eye on this department in future issues for analysis of the growing organic milk market, as well as the ongoing sales trends development for the overall milk market.