While soft cheese saw the fastest retail value sales growth in 2017, “other” processed cheese accelerated to register the strongest increase in 2018. This was mainly due to the improved distribution of Mlekoprodukt’s Biser Tofi and Biser Tufi brands, as well as the growing popularity of Delhaize Serbia’s Premia private label line.
Benefiting from high awareness and traditional consumption, as well as higher unit prices, hard cheese continued to lead retail value sales in 2018. However, Serbian consumers have become less conservative in terms of taste and preference, and hard cheese has ceded some retail value share to soft cheese and processed cheese.
Packaged hard cheese is much more popular than unpackaged hard cheese in Serbia. This is partly because of the wider offer of packaged hard cheese in retail stores.
Cheese in Serbia was almost dormant in terms of new product development in 2017 and 2018, when almost no notable releases were observed. The only significant new launch came in July 2018, when Imlek introduced Balans+Sir.
Private label holds a high share of retail value sales in cheese, compared with other dairy categories. Two private label retailers Delhaize Serbia and Mercator - S accounted for significant, and growing, retail value shares over the review period.
The growing popularity of private label in cheese supported Delhaize Serbia, which registered the fastest retail value sales growth in 2018. The other significant private label retailer, Mercator - S, also recorded a strong increase in retail value sales.
Serbian officials have decided that the permitted aflatoxin level in milk is to remain at 0.25 micrograms per litre up to the end of 2018.
Cow’s milk continued to dominate retail value sales of drinking milk products in 2018. Within the category, shelf stable milk led fresh milk in terms of retail value share and growth.
Faster retail volume and value growth in the early review period raised expectations for goat milk in Serbia. However, growth rates quickly decelerated and the range and distribution of goat milk has narrowed rather than widened.
Imlek remained the undisputed leader of drinking milk products in retail value terms in 2018, despite a small drop in share. A small share loss is not surprising, given the company’s dominance of the category.
There were almost no new product launches in drinking milk products from the second half of 2017. The most notable launch came from Imlek, which introduced Moja Kravica Junior in October 2017.
Private label’s overall retail value share in drinking milk products dropped significantly in 2016, when the two largest grocery retailers in the country, Delhaize Serbia and Mercator - S, decided to discontinue their private label fresh milk lines, 365 and K Plus, respectively. However, the grocery retailers did not withdraw from shelf stable milk and their overall retail shares increased saw a marginal upturn by 2018 due to lower prices and the improving quality reputation of private label in general.
Serbian yoghurt and sour milk products has been dominated by drinking yoghurt for decades. In 2018, drinking yoghurt extended its lead by recording the highest retail value sales growth.
Plain yoghurt saw particularly strong retail current value growth in the early review period, although it continued to perform well up to 2018. The category benefited as many of the leading dairy producers entered plain yoghurt.
Sour milk products, drinking yoghurt and plain yoghurt all saw their average retail current unit prices increase in 2018; however, flavoured yoghurt witnessed a slight decline. Prices of flavoured yoghurt products were unnecessarily high and producers reacted to increasing competition by reducing unit prices in 2018.
Several new product launches were observed from the second part of 2017. Most of the new product development was found in flavoured yoghurt.
Private label accounted for a strong retail value share in yoghurt and sour milk products in 2018. The most important private label players, Delhaize Serbia and Mercator - S, are strongest in drinking yoghurt, although they also offer flavoured yoghurt lines.
In 2018, the leading players in yoghurt and sour milk products registered retail value sales increases as they benefited from the healthy development and growth of the category. However, the top two manufacturers, Imlek and Mlekara, saw a marginal loss in share.
Coffee whiteners continued to see the fastest retail volume and current value growth in 2018, albeit from a very low sales base. This type of product is not traditionally popular among Serbian consumers, although the consumer base grew throughout the review period.
The average retail current unit price continued to increase in 2018, albeit below the country’s inflation rate. Manufacturers responded to growing competition by limiting unit price increases in order to retain or win over new consumers.
In 2018, cream continued to lose retail volume and value share, although it remained by far the biggest category. Cream is often used as a condiment with meals, and even more often as a cooking ingredient, which has a long tradition in Serbian households.
Ferrero maintained its leading position in retail value share terms in 2018, although it came under increasing pressure from Imlek and Mlekara, as well as some smaller producers during the review period. Ferrero continued to record positive retail value sales growth, although its overall share has stagnated.
The only significant new product launch came from Imlek in June 2018. The producer introduced an entirely new Balans+ line, which included Balans+ Kisela Pavlaka cream.
TV advertisements dominated the marketing strategies of other dairy manufacturers in Serbia. The top two players, Ferrero and Imlek, were the most active when it comes to this type of marketing in 2018.
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Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the Dairy industry in Serbia 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.