Local consumers continuing to spend long periods of time at home during the first half of the year as a result of the ongoing pandemic is anticipated to result in high demand for drinking milk products in 2021, as Poles spend more time cooking and preparing their own milk-based hot and cold beverages including coffee, whilst working from home wherever possible. This concerns most types of drinking milk products including fresh milk, with full fat recording marginally higher retail volume growth due to its natural perception, while shelf stable milk benefits from a certain level of stockpiling as this product offers a longer shelf life in terms of non-refrigerated storage before opening, thereby reducing the need to visit a grocery retailer repeatedly.
Drinking milk products in Poland continues to be led by two domestic local milk companies in 2021, namely SM Mlekpol and SM Mlekovita. These players have both cemented their leadership through well-developed distribution networks, their long presence in Poland, low costs of production due to direct cooperation with domestic farmers, and extensive advertising campaigns, resulting in similar value shares at the end of the review period, with both gaining further ground during the pandemic.
There were concerted efforts to promote the benefits of drinking fresh cow’s milk in Poland in 2020, driven by the Polish National Association of Dairy Cooperatives. This was mainly due to the fact that in Poland, there is high milk production and at the same time high export volume, while The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development published a list of companies in April 2020 which had imported milk into Poland in Q1 in an attempt to highlight the number of players which were continuing to use foreign milk to produce a number of dairy products rather than supporting local production.
Demand for drinking milk products through retail is set to return to normalisation in terms of purchasing behaviour from 2022 in line with stable growth in demand through foodservice. Depending on the threat level of the virus in the early part of the forecast period, Poles are likely to gradually return to their daily routines as COVID-19 related measures are further relaxed, resulting in less time spent at home cooking and preparing their own milk-based beverages, and returning to cafés and restaurants, albeit with some degree of caution.
Despite the likelihood of price sensitivity amongst local consumers coming out of the pandemic, the trend for organic drinking milk products will remain relevant over the forecast period and help to drive up the average unit price. Many Poles have become increasingly interested in fresh products which are free from GMOs and are paying greater attention to “green” labels on packaging which they associate with naturalness.
Milk alternatives is predicted to continue to record the strongest performance over the forecast period in both retail volume and value terms (at constant 2021 prices). Other milk alternatives will continue to drive volume and value growth within the product area due to its more diverse offer which had continued to expand towards the end of the review period as producers explored different plant-based options to soy.
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This report originates from Passport, our Drinking Milk Products research and analysis database.
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