There’s been lots of discussion this year in the industry and in the media about milk’s rising status worldwide, thanks in part to rising prices. Indeed milk is one of the hot commodities in emerging markets like China. And when we look at the product introductions around the world, we find that milk is one of the fastest growing dairy segments, and the Asia Pacific region is the place where the pace of new product innovation has really accelerated in the milk category.
These assumptions are based on data provided by the Mintel Custom Solution’s Global New Product Database.
In most of the major sub-categories, product innovations have grown in each of the last three years. But for some the growth is fairly steady while for others it is quite swift.
White milk introductions worldwide totaled 566 in 2006; up substantially from 474 the year prior. They surpassed that number by the end of August this year, so they could reach more than 700 by year’s end.
Looking at white milk introductions by region, we see that Asia Pacific surpassed Europe last year as the most active region in the category, in terms of roll outs. With 217 introductions as of August, Asia Pacific should introduce somewhere in the vicinity of 300 new products in the category this year, or about twice what it did in 2005.
Asia is, of course, becoming more active in all subcategories. Cheese introductions in the first eight months of this year significantly outpaced all of 2006. Europe, which produces more than 1,500 new cheeses each year, may roll out a few less cheese in 2007 than it did in 2006. Latin American cheesemakers have also been busy this year, with 458 introductions through August compared to 393 in all of 2006 and just 194 in 2004.
Europe, however, seems to be the active market for frozen novelties, with more introductions through August (545) than for all of last year. Roll outs of frozen novelties in Latin America were down in 2006 and will likely be down a bit again this year.
The yogurt category is not illustrated here, but Europe remains the most innovative region. Europeans rolled out 1,715 new yogurt products in 2006 but that was down a bit from 2005. Asia Pacific continues to be the second busiest region for yogurt development, having outpaced North America since 2004