Cheese is expected to remain amongst the most dynamic categories in dairy in Switzerland over the forecast period. There is an increasing variety of cheese available in Switzerland, which calls itself “the land of cheese”.
Busier lifestyles and increasing interest in outdoor activities are leading Swiss consumers to find alternatives to sit-down meals. The availability of cheese products offering guilt-free snacks, as they are offered in smaller portions, and alternatives to traditional meals is set to increase over the forecast period.
“Swissness” remains a crucial selling point, and it determines the perception of many consumers, who see domestic Swiss products as a guarantee of good quality and authenticity. The concept of “Swissness” is expected to remain very strong when it comes to dairy products in Swiss consumers’ minds; consequently, provenance and sustainability will remain important within cheese.
Cheese is expected to face an increasingly tough competitive environment, and major players such as Migros Genossenschaftsbund and Coop Genossenschaft are set to increase the focus on their private label cheese ranges in order to compete. Multinational players such as Lactalis Suisse and Emmi, which are also strongly present within the category, are expected to compete against private label for share through heavy promotional activity and strong communication.
Company strategies in cheese in Switzerland will continue to reflect the increased competition domestic retailers face from EU brands, and the increased demand for Swiss cheese. As a result, the main strategy companies will employ over the forecast period will be to increase the focus on domestically-produced brands.
Fiercer competition and the growing number of private label products are expected to significantly push down the average unit price of cheese over the forecast period. Indeed, a growing number of consumers will continue turning to private label products, as the range of product types and quality expand.
The steady decline in the milk consumption rate experienced in Switzerland during the review period is expected to continue over the forecast period. This decrease will continue to be caused by three major factors.
Milk alternatives and goat milk are set to continue to see the best performances in value terms at constant 2018 prices over the forecast period. Milk alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk and almond milk will continue to grow in popularity amongst health and wellness enthusiasts and those with lactose intolerance.
In order to promote drinking milk products in Switzerland, the Swiss government, in conjunction with the various Swiss dairy associations, is expected to continue developing campaigns aimed at raising awareness amongst Swiss consumers about the role that milk plays in a balanced diet. For example, they will continue to target schoolchildren with initiatives designed to make drinking milk popular again.
Migros Genossenschaftsbund is expected to continue to lead drinking milk products in the forecast period. The retailer benefits from strong consumer confidence and loyalty, as well as an extensive distribution network.
Whilst drinking milk products is already a mature category in Switzerland, there remains some room for new product development. In 2018, for example, Coop launched the locally-sourced Hay Milk dairy range, which uses milk sourced from cows fed exclusively on Swiss hay.
Over the forecast period, private label is expected to continue to be the single largest player in drinking milk products, accounting for the bulk of sales. Private label retailers such as Migros, Coop and the German discounters Aldi and Lidl will maintain consumers’ interest by increasing the added-value of their offer through the inclusion of convenient packaging innovations, different price platforms, increased segmentation, as well as health and wellness properties.
Over the forecast period, health-consciousness is expected to continue to take hold in many packaged food categories in Switzerland, including yoghurt and sour milk products. The category will continue to benefit from its natural image and various benefits in terms of digestive health and general wellbeing.
In 2015, as part of the Milan Declaration, the Swiss government signed an agreement with yoghurt manufacturers in Switzerland, including Danone, Nestlé and Emmi, as well as retailers and discounters, including Aldi and Lidl, to reduce the sugar content in yoghurts by the end of 2018. In order to control this, measures have been taken in this regard: the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FFSVO) conducted an initial survey of the sugar content in yoghurts in Switzerland in 2016.
With the continuing trend towards health and wellness products, Swiss consumers are looking for healthier ingredients in yoghurt and sour milk products, and are willing to pay a higher price in exchange for a product with enhanced benefits. As a result, more innovation in terms of added-value products is expected over the forecast period.
Migros is expected to remain the leader in yoghurt and sour milk products in Switzerland in the forecast period, with its wide array of private label products. Migros is the leading retailer in Switzerland, and offers a wide range of products, mainly private label, ranging from economy and mid-priced to premium, including organic, functional and reduced fat yoghurt and sour milk products.
In 2018, Coop introduced the first sugar-free fruited yoghurt on the Swiss market under its organic private label line Naturaplan. The yoghurt is made with organic fruit and lactose-free organic milk and is available in three flavours.
Private label is likely to face strong competition from multinational players. The latter are expected to develop new product lines which are innovative and targeted towards specific consumer groups or the emerging lifestyle trends of Swiss consumers.
The health and wellness trend is expected to continue shaping the consumption patterns of Swiss consumers over the forecast period, and will fuel the demand for healthier food options. Increasing health-consciousness, together with public campaigns sponsored by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and major consumer associations, will continue to lead Swiss consumers to migrate to healthier dietary alternatives.
Many categories within other dairy have reached maturity, and have few growth opportunities. These are likely to be further negatively affected by the health and wellness trend.
Other dairy products are expected to continue being purchased from grocery retailers such as supermarkets, discounters and hypermarkets. However, the distribution of other dairy products is expected to move further in the direction of discounters, as Aldi and Lidl are likely to gain more of a foothold in the Swiss packaged food retail market.
Migros is expected to continue leading other dairy in Switzerland over the forecast period. Its success will continue to be due to its well-recognised private label lines, which are all perceived as high quality, and because Swiss consumers favour domestic dairy products.
Considering the sustained weakness in other dairy, many players will seek growth opportunities through the continued development and diversification of other dairy products into as many segments as possible, including economy, premium, healthy and speciality, in order to reach the maximum number of consumers. In 2018, for example, by launching Oola Secrets, a chilled dairy dessert, Emmi chose the premium indulgent innovation path in order to differentiate itself from its competitors.
The share of private label in other dairy is expected to remain significant in value terms. However, private label manufacturers will still face strong competition from manufacturers of branded products, as multinational players have higher budgets for developing new innovative product lines, and will continue to invest in marketing campaigns.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.