When Maeil Dairies – a major player in the Korean milk market, with a strong reputation for innovation – set out to revitalise the market for chilled white milk, Tetra Brik® 900 Ultra Edge with LightCap™ 30 was the natural choice. The combination of this new package and opening offered enhanced functionality and, most importantly, helped Maeil Dairies products to stand out from the crowd. An integrated marketing campaign, focusing on the ability of the package to protect the product and deliver a fresh, “new milk” taste every time, has succeeded in winning over consumers from traditional gable top packages and early sales figures are very positive.
Maeil Dairies was established in 1969 and is now Korea’s largest food and beverage producer with product lines ranging from cheese to wine to baby food as well as milk, where it is one of the biggest players in the domestic market. Products are exported to 18 countries, mostly in Asia. Tetra Pak and Maeil Dairies have been working together since 1972, and the company is now our biggest customer in Korea. Our shared record features a number of notable market “firsts” including flavoured organic milk, drinking yoghurt and the introduction of advanced formats including portion packs for on-the-go consumption. Today, the company has the most diverse packaging portfolio of any of our customers in Korea.
Chilled white milk accounts for 94% of the market in Korea, with plain and low-fat varieties dominant. Producers have traditionally favoured gable top packages without caps, in either 900 or 1000ml sizes, with very little differentiation or functionality for customers. Sales in this mature market had been virtually stagnant for a number of years, falling from 561m litres in 2016 to 556m litres in 2017.* There was a clear opportunity for an innovative, creative producer to shake up the market and make their products stand out from the crowd with a new package, offering a fresh look and enhanced functionality.
Together, Maeil Dairies and Tetra Pak decided that the most effective way to achieve differentiation in the chilled white milk market was to switch from the existing 1000ml gable top packages to Tetra Brik 900 Ultra Edge with LightCap 30. The new package offers a number of advantages. The tall slim shape makes it easier for consumers to hold and pour, while the cap means the package can be resealed to maintain freshness and consequently minimise waste. With its contemporary appearance, Tetra Brik 900 Ultra Edge also stands out from its competitors while maintaining the same height profile as the dominant gable top packages, so they have the same presence on the shelf.
Maeil Dairies launched four varieties of chilled white milk – with 3.6%, 2%, 1% and 0% fat respectively – in Tetra Brik 900 Ultra Edge in March 2018, having installed some of the latest Tetra Pak equipment, a Tetra Pak® E3/Flex filling machine and a Tetra Pak® Capper 40. Tetra Pak worked with Maeil Dairies to put together an integrated promotional campaign including TV commercials, viral online videos, advertisements on buses, on-line and in-store promotions. The campaign focuses on how the new package with LightCap opening ensures total freshness and protects the milk from the odors of other items being stored in the fridge, so it tastes like “new milk” every time. Secondary messages include ease of holding and pouring, and the ability of the packaging material to protect the contents from light.
The new product is currently available in hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores but will expand further in 2019. Maeil Dairies has plans to install a second packaging line in 2019, increasing production and enabling them to target a wider range of retail channels such as on-line stores, individual supermarkets and traditional stores beyond modern retails.
The story of Maeil Dairies and Tetra Brik 900 Ultra Edge LightCap 30 is a great example of how, with the right mindset and a willingness to embrace new ideas, innovation can have an impact even where the product in this case, chilled white milk – is essentially a commodity item. The message is, there are opportunities for differentiation everywhere. Close partnership working is the key to identifying them, and finding the right solution.
* Source: Nielsen Retail Index, volume base (million litres)