The National Dairy Council Launches Annual Review 2010 & 2011 Plan

The National Dairy Council Chairman, Dominic Cronin (left) and Vice Charman, Henry Corbally pictured at the launch of the NDC Annual Review 2010 & 2011 Plan

During 2010 Irish consumers were concerned about disposable incomes falling and were feeling under pressure in light of the fiscal austerity measures. Consumer focus was very much about reducing household expenditure, according to the NDC Annual Review 2010 & 2011 Plan launched today. Despite these recessionary challenges, the dairy sector performed relatively well in 2010, with volumes in retail multiples growing and prices stabilising, particularly in the last quarter of the year.

Savings are top of the consumer agenda. According to the NDC Review, more than two in every three people say they will continue to switch to cheaper grocery brands and increase their in-home dining and entertainment, in order to try to live within their much restricted budgets. However the report highlights that these trends, supporting home cooking and meal preparation, ultimately are of benefit to the dairy sector.

The increase in home entertainment, cooking and baking can be seen in the sales of cream which are (excluding doorstep and independents) up 3.5% in both volume and value terms in 2010.

The functional/health sector showed decline in 2010 down 7% year on year and reflecting the consumer’s increasing reluctance to spend a small premium for added value.

However consumption trends within the ‘yellow fats’ food category show the unpredictable nature of consumers, who do not appear to have forsaken taste and authenticity in the interest of cost savings: butter showed growth in 2010 of 2% year on year, but in the most recent quarter of 2010 was up 15% in value.
According to Nielsen, total volume of retail milk sales during 2010 was up 2.4% with value showing a decline of 3.4%. Large format pack sizes are showing the strongest increases. Whole milk is losing market share to low fat milk, whose value has risen by a significant 5%, with a strong lift in the last quarter of the year up to 26%. Reflecting the harsh economic conditions, ‘value added’ variants have seen an expenditure drop, with flavoured milk down 22% and fortified milk down 5%.

Whilst the value of the cheese market was static in 2010, it enjoyed sizeable growth in volume of 6%. More frugal shoppers drove an increase in natural cheese (up 5%) and grated cheese (up 9% but benefiting from use for cooking and school lunch sandwiches); against declines in processed and speciality cheeses.

It is interesting to note that cottage cheese and pic’n’mix are doing well, with strong growth, albeit from a small base, but again reflecting an increased emphasis on self-catering even when out of the home, during the working day, in order to save money during these recessionary times.

2010 – Marketing Extended to Cheese & Butter

The NDC Review describes 2010 – the mid point in its five year ‘Dairy: Food For Life Strategy’, as a year of ‘fruition’ for the National Dairy Council. “At a time of unprecedented economic challenge, the NDC is proud to have been able extend the scope of its marketing and promotional remit and deliver measurably positive outcomes,” says NDC Chief Executive Helen Brophy.

Marketing and promotional activity in 2010 expanded to include butter and cheese campaigns. The butter campaign which ran from June – October stressed traditional uses of butter as a topping on toast and baked potatoes. Executed through print advertising, the campaign was supported by significant PR activity including a one week national promotion on RTE’s Mooney Programme in the week leading up to Father’s Day in June.

The cheese campaign launched in mid September focused on convenience and versatility within the theme ‘Cheesy Moments – What’s Yours?’ The cheese campaign was also extended through web site competitions and promotion at events such as the National Ploughing Championships.

Research evaluations for both the butter and cheese campaigns were very positive.

The NDC Farmed in the Republic of Ireland trade mark advertising campaign, with Paul O’Connell as lead ambassador, performed very strongly in 2010 across a range of key metrics in evaluation research. The trade mark concept was extended during the year to allow foodservice outlets to gain certification of origin for use in customer premises.

The NDC-led Milk it For All It’s Worth three-year campaign signed Republic of Ireland soccer international Kevin Doyle as lead ambassador in 2010 and very effectively complemented the NDC’s five-year strategy. Co-funded by the EU, Department of Agriculture and dairy industry, the campaign is largely targeting the 11-20 year old age group and is setting out to build an association between milk, dairy and sport. The campaign also included during 2010 a seminar for fitness professionals held at DCU, a briefing for specialist journalists at Wimbledon and saw the start of the roll out of seminars organised in association with the Irish Osteoporosis Society.

The NDC is continuing to build international links and alliances and has, through its participation in the European Dairy Marketing Forum, submitted an application for EU Funding to be part of a pan-European campaign to promote the nutrient richness of milk and dairy products.

The establishment of a Scientific, Nutrition & Technical Committte (SNT) guided communication and the NDC Advocacy Programme included four Health and Wellbeing events, the Dairy Den nutritional guidance for parents and a proactive programme of communication with health professionals. In 2010 80% of GP surgeries stocked NDC literature, 3 editions of a specialist newsletter for health professionals were produced and an on-line nutrition library launched for specialist audiences.

The NDC Quality Milk Awards enjoys high regard within the industry and was won in 2010 by brothers John & Kevin Walsh from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The NDC also outreached through exhibitions such as the National Ploughing Championships, as well as Tullamore Show and the National Dairy Show.

The introduction of the ‘Fresh Milk Club’ branding to primary schools supported the recruitment of 4,840 new pupils and 90 new schools to the School Milk & Dairy Programme in the 2009-2010 school year; with a further 39 schools joining to date in the 2010-2011 school year.

The School Milk & Dairy Programme expanded to secondary schools for the first time in 2010, supported by marketing initiatives such as the NDC & FAI Futsal competition and the new NDC Milk It! Advertising Awards. To date 34 secondary schools have joined the new School Milk & Dairy programme.

Commenting on the launch of the NDC Annual Review 2010 & 2011 Plan today, NDC Chairman Dominic Cronin accepts that conditions remain challenging for farm families and milk processors; but says that there is a growing sense that the dairy industry is at last beginning to benefit from long-term sustainable opportunities in the world marketplace.

“All of us share the hope that the recovery of confidence witnessed in 2010 will point the way to a sustainable future for the Irish dairy industry, both nationally and internationally,” said Mr. Cronin.

Mr. Cronin acknowledged the contribution of dairy farmers and NDC members, whose support make the work of the NDC possible. He paid tribute to the NDC Board, the staff of the NDC and also to the outgoing chief executive, Helen Brophy, thanking her for her significant contribution and wishing her every success in the future with her new role.

“The culture of achievement sustained throughout 2010 has been made possible because the NDC is fit for purpose and driven by strategic goals,” said Mr. Cronin. “I am very proud of how much the NDC has achieved with the resources available to it and look forward to sustaining this level of progress in the years ahead.”

To download your copy of the NDC Annual Review 2010 & 2011 Plan please click here or telephone the NDC on 01-290 2451 to request a hard copy.

For further information on the NDC return to our Home Page


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Antonina Ni Dhuinn, Progress Communications - 01-276 6117 - -

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