Cheese continues to see positive sales growth, with soft cheese seeing the highest value increases, although per capita consumption is considered low in the country. Colombians are more likely to eat cheese at breakfast, but rarely as a snack or as an ingredient for other preparations, which hinders expansion.
As cheese is seen as an expensive product type by many consumers, price is a major determiner of demand. Long dry seasons provide poor conditions for milk production, which makes producing cheese, especially hard cheese, more expensive.
HW cheese remains underdeveloped, with only reduced fat options enjoying a significant presence. However, demand is limited.
Cooperativa Lechera Colanta remains the leading player in 2019. The company is seeing moderate retail value sales growth as the competition from the likes of Alpina increases.
With a narrower cheese portfolio than the leader, Alpina Productos Alimenticios has invested in new product development and innovation, including the launch of Quesito Alpina, a soft cheese focused on family consumption. The new offering, which comes in convenience packaging, is supported by strong advertising and wide availability in supermarkets, but also some discounters.
Private label is still unable to seriously threaten the positions of the leading brands in cheese, despite the positive performance of discounters’ lines like Latti by D1. Discounters offer a limited array of products with the focus on soft cheese.
Cow’s milk is seeing a slow decrease in retail volume sales due to saturation, with high household penetration in Colombia. While there was some innovation in 2018, such as Productos Naturales de la Sabana’s Alquería Más, a fortified milk promoted as offering the flavour of full-fat milk for the whole family, no major innovation was witnessed in milk in 2019.
There is a high level of informal sales in drinking milk products in Colombia. According to trade sources, the informality rate is close to 50%.
Milk alternatives, especially “other” milk alternatives, is registering rapid retail volume and current value growth in Colombia. In particular, almond milk is benefiting from an increasing number of brands with wide price ranges.
Three domestic companies continue to lead drinking milk products in 2019. Cooperativa Lechera Colanta remains the top player with the support of a solid distribution network.
Private label continues to see rapid retail value sales increases, and healthy share growth, in 2019. This performance is driven by discounters offering shelf stable milk in pouches, but more often in brick liquid cartons at very low per litre prices.
Rosmi, Laboratorio Franco Colombiano Lafrancol and Team Foods Colombia were among the players to grow their overall retail value share in 2019. Their participation in milk alternatives, the fastest-growing category, contributed significantly to their positive performances.
Yoghurt is seeing slightly faster retail volume and value growth in 2019, compared with 2018, although rates remained low-to-moderate. In Colombia, yoghurt has low penetration.
FF yoghurt continues to struggle to grow demand in 2019. This is partly due to exit of key brands like Vaalia and Activia, with no key new competitors filling the void.
Both yoghurt and sour milk products have seen the entry of new varieties. Greek yoghurt is becoming increasingly popular as it is perceived to offer a good source of protein and low fat content.
Traditional dairy companies Alpina Productos Alimenticios and Cooperativa Lechera Colanta continue to occupy the top rankings. Alpina aims to consolidate its dominance in the category by building brand awareness.
Industria Pasteurizadora y Lechera El Pomar has invested heavily in production facilities and revamping the image and presentation of its brands and products. The new image reflects more artisanal and natural concepts.
The Peruvian enterprise Grupo Gloria entered Colombia in 2004 with the acquisition of the domestic company Algarra. Until 2018, Algarra was the player’s only yoghurt brand, with distribution limited mainly to central Colombia.
Chilled and shelf stable desserts, especially the shelf stable format, struggles to grow demand and remains a medium-sized category. Significant innovation has not been observed in the category.
The health and wellness trend continues to impact the offer of condensed milk. Condensed milk in Colombia includes arequipe, a highly popular and traditional Colombian dulce de leche that can be used as an ingredient for desserts, spread over bread, savoury biscuits or simply eaten with a spoon.
Cream remains a popular and important ingredient used in numerous preparations. For example, it is used in desserts and vegetable and other soups like ajiaco, a traditional Colombian offering.
Alpina Productos Alimenticios continues to gain retail value share to consolidate its leadership of other dairy in 2019. The company benefits from a strong and wide presence in the category in Colombia.
Nestlé de Colombia remains an important player in other dairy, especially in plain condensed milk and cream, although it is also present in coffee whiteners. The long-standing presence and popularity of La Lechera in Colombia, along with innovations in packaging, such as easy-open can ends and stand-up pouches with caps that allow better dosage control, contributed to gradual retail value share growth in other dairy towards the end of the review period.
Other dairy products are stocked by modern and traditional grocery retailers in Colombia. However, traditional grocery retailers, especially independent small grocers, but also “other” grocery retailers” (kiosks and markets), dominate retail value sales.
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Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the Dairy industry in Colombia with research from Euromonitor's team of in-country analysts.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.