Irrespective of social class, milk has become a basic necessity for Nigerian families. Most quick snacks and meals need some dairy product before they can be consumed, particularly milk.
Over the years, Nigerians have witnessed as a wide array of milk brands flooded their markets, in various sizes and prices, so much that it is almost becoming impossible to pick out a unique selling point for each of the brands.
Focus on the interesting branding strategies at play
Even though there are many milk brands in the market, the tussle for market share is actually between a few companies. The main competitors are always rolling out several brands in an effort to outpace the others. This way, customers could choose to be loyal to different brands, but they can also find at the end of the day that they are still patronising one company.
Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, for instance, is the name behind the popular ‘Peak’ and ‘Three crowns’ brands, while Promasidor produces both ‘Cowbell’ and ‘Loya’ milk.
Before taking a dive into these products, their prices, sizes and reviews, let’s make it clear that there is a whole world of difference between full cream milk, filled milk, and skimmed milk.
Full Cream Milk: This is also known as whole milk, and it contains no added fat from non-dairy cow sources. Also, none of the dairy fat content is removed. As a matter of fact, its higher ‘dairy fat’ content is the reason it is creamier, tastier, and costlier.
Filled Milk: This is a kind of milk that has been reconstituted with fats from sources other than dairy cows. A good example of such derived fat sources is vegetable oils. It provides consumers a fair bargain, giving them the quality that their money can afford, as it is often cheaper and less creamy than the full cream milk.
Skimmed Milk: This milk’s dairy fat has been removed so that it remains nutritious but without added fats and calories. It is said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
With this, you should know that your choice of milk needs not necessarily be a function of prize and size, but your need and the quality you desire.
Friesland Campina WAMCO
Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria produces the Peak Gold evaporated milk, Peak Full cream unsweetened evaporated milk, and the Peak Filled evaporated milk.
Of the three, the Peak Gold evaporated milk is the most expensive, probably because it is imported from Holland, unlike the others. A 160g tin of the milk sells at N260 for a unit.
On the other end, you get the 160g tin of the Peak full cream unsweetened evaporated milk at N185, while the same quantity of the Peak filled evaporated milk sells at about N155.
While the full cream unsweetened milk has a light brown label at the lower end of the can, the Peak filled evaporated milk has a blue label. Other than this, there is no other physical difference between both products, and some consumers sometimes get puzzled as to why they are sold at different prices.
Though they are both produced locally in Ogba, Ikeja, the difference is in the taste and in the quality. Though not as sweet as the Peak filled evaporated milk, the Peak full cream unsweetened milk has a creamier and thicker feel, giving better taste with less quantity. Consumers who are generally not after sweetened taste will most likely find this a better buy.
The Three Crowns filled evaporated milk sells at N155 for the 160g tin, but its taste is different from the ‘Peaks’.
However, the Peak Gold dwarfs all the other products. It is both creamier and tastier, inadvertently fuelling consumer belief that imported products are better than the locally made counterparts.
Over to the House of Chi...
In the Nigerian full cream milk market, Hollandia is thought of as one of the few brands that can give ‘Peak’ a run for the market. This is because Hollandia offers an equally tasty milk for lesser price.
Now, the Hollandia full cream evaporated milk comes in completely different sizes and packaging, compared to its Peak counterparts.
The milk comes in signature Tetra Paks of different sizes. A 190g pack sells for N185, while 120g sells for N100. There is also the smaller 60g pack selling for N60. Succinctly put, there is a size and price for everyone to get same tasty and creamy quality of the milk.
Peak had, at some point, come up with the ‘Wazobia pack’ of 30g sold at N50, and it was expected that this would give Hollandia a fair run, but in recent times, the Peak 30g evaporated milk, seems to have evaporated from the store shelves.
For undisclosed reasons, the House of Chi chose to avoid the filled milk evaporated line. This is probably because of its desire to maintain same quality across board. However, there is also the long-life milk both low fat and high fat, and full cream ultra-high temperature pasteurised milk.
Based on the information on its website, the ISO 22000 certified company prides itself on catering to the needs of health-conscious consumers, and deploying advanced technology and research in its production.
Its Tetra Pak packaging is touted to be a more safer food packaging solution in comparison to the tin which is used across other dairy producing companies. Coca-Cola recently acquired 100% equity holding in the company, after purchasing an initial 40 percent equity investment in Chi Limited in 2016. With this ownership change, Chi now has the advantage of being owned by one of the world’s most popular brands.
What’s Promasidor doing?
Promasidor claims to be the first company to give Peak milk a serious shake in the Nigerian, by rolling out cheaper products for the masses, by producing the powdered milk in sachets in 1993.
In the evaporated milk space however, the Cowbell filled evaporated milk could not stand the Peak full cream due to the striking difference in taste. Perhaps to tackle this competition, the company soon rolled out Loya Milk as their Full Cream milk powder alternative to Peak. There is however, no evaporated alternative yet.
A 160g tin of Cowbell filled evaporated milk now sells at N135 (a recent drop from N150). Though the product still has loyal consumers who stick to it, an informal survey showed that consumers considered the packaging less attractive than competing liquid milk brands. The taste is also considered a bit of an issue, majorly because the other brands have moved on the full cream alternative while it remained with its filled milk.
Let’s not forget Nutricima
This brand, which is now a division of PZ Cussons, offers a wider range of beverages from powdered, evaporated and ready-to-drink (RTD) milk beverages; including its yoghurts which are sold under the Yo brand.
There was an announcement earlier in the year that the company was proposing to sell its Nigerian dairy business Nutricima to its foremost competitor FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc. However, further details have not been made public since then.
The Nunu filled evaporated milk sells at N140 for the 160g tin. Besides Nunu, Nutricima is the name behind Yo, Coast and Olympic, all of which have captured a tiny bit of the Nigerian milk market.
The store shelves of supermarkets and stores have some other milk brands like Luna and Popular, which are a brand of Givanas Nigeria Limited, Olympic and Coast from Nutricima, among others.
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For the most part, it would appear that not all consumers are really concerned about what brand of milk they buy and why. Advertisements and promotions do a lot in ensuring that the brand name remains in the public space, and sometimes influences buying decisions.
Taste forms a major motivation for buying any brand, but the price and size also plays a part. Ultimately, it comes down to choice, and it would be hard to box consumers reasons for branch choice at the end of the day.