Multiple-benefit marketing: does it work?

German dairy thinks so; launches new effort to interest consumers

EUROPE Communicating multiple benefits has long been a challenge for manufacturers, but now Müller, the German dairy, has put its faith in the strategy by launching a '3-in-one' campaign highlighting the prebiotic, probiotic and omega-3s content of its Vitality range of 10 yoghurts and six yoghurt drinks in the UK. While dairy products are increasingly being fortified with Functional Ingredients, Müller is one of the first companies to band ingredients together, multivitamins-style, in a formalised campaign that should gain the attention of North American yoghurt manufacturers, as Americans and Canadians warm to functional yoghurt pots and one-shot drinks.

Muller Vitality"Our research has shown consumers are rejecting functional foods because they are sceptical as to their real benefit," said Müller UK marketing manager, Chris McDonough. "They find the science of functional foods confusing and alienating. The current category messages are not breaking down these barriers." A spokesperson said its previous omega-3s-focused sell "wasn't getting through."

The UK functional-yoghurt and yoghurt-drink market is estimated at about $668 million, but TNS statistics show sales of functional drinking yoghurts have fallen six per cent in the past year, while functional yoghurts have shot up by 41 per cent, a discrepancy due to the preponderance of highly specific cholesterol, heart or gut claims yoghurt drinks tend to carry, and which Müller believes are being rejected by consumers.

Whether consumers will warm to a sell based around omega-3s fortification, plus two other highly technical functional ingredients in pro- and prebiotics, is difficult to tell. Already sceptical consumers may feel such a prospect is too good to be true, or find such an array of potential health benefits baffling.

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