Theo Müller Group advertising & marketing assignments

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Theo Müller Group is gradually conquering the European chilled dairy sector through a combination of clever product innovation and slow but steady expansion. Now headquartered in Luxembourg, the group is already the leading player in the UK (see Muller UK) and Germany, and is heading towards the same position in several other important markets. It operates 23 production sites in multiple countries across Europe, and exports to many more. In Germany, Müller is the leading white-line dairy manufacturer, manufacturing a wide range of milk based drinks and yoghurts under brands including Müllermilch, Sachsenmilch and premium-priced Weihenstephan, as well as Loose cheeses, Italian-style Crema yogurts, Froop fruit yogurts and vitamin drinks. It acquired Nestle's German chilled dairy dessert business in 2003, as well as the local license to market LC1 yogurt, and extended this to include the Swiss company's children's yoghurt products from 2004. Also in 2004, the group acquired Dutch yoghurt brand Almhof, making it the #3 dairy manufacturer in that market. In 2005 it acquired Czech diary Pragolaktos. The group took its first steps into the US in summer 2012, forming Müller Quaker, a joint venture with PepsiCo's Quaker Foods division, to launch Müller Corner yoghurt in the US as well as new product FrutUp. However sales remained weak, and the partnership was eventually dissolved at the end of 2015. The group's other subsidiaries include packaging company Optipack (which makes pots for the company as well as its competitors) and logistics business Culina. Also in 2005, Theo Müller Group effectively merged with IFR Capital, an investment company launched by Heiner Kamps, former owner of the Kamps bakery chain. As a result, its businesses also include chilled salads and culinary foods manufacturer Homann. Several other such manufacturers, including Nadler in Germany and Lisner in Poland were added in 2010. However, another subsidiary - Europe's largest fish-based quickserve restaurant chain Nordsee - was sold in 2018 to private equity. Parent company Theo Müller Group reported sales of €5.7bn in 2019, below past highs, partly as a result of weak performance in the UK. Performance in Germany has also been flat for several years. The group is wholly owned by Theo Müller - now in his 80s - who expanded a small dairy business originally founded by his grandfather in 1896. His son Stefan Muller succeeded him on the supervisory board in 2020 and is considered heir apparent. Werner Stegmüller is group CEO.

Capsule checked 22nd December 2020

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Who are the competitors of Müller? Müller's main competitors in Europe are Danone, Arla and General Mills' Yoplait. It competes with Nestle, Onken and Fage in several countries, and there are a number of other local competitors including Yeo Valley in the UK, Granarolo and Parmalat in Italy. In the yogurt drink sector, competitors include Danone's Actimel and Yakult. See Food Sector index for other companies

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group of Germany have called it quits in the brutally competitive US yoghurt market. In what is said to be a mutual decision, the two companies agreed to dissolve their joint venture, which has been marketing a range of Muller-branded dairy products in the US under the umbrella of PepsiCo's Quaker brand. After almost four years, the range has failed to build more than around 2.2% local share in a sector dominated by Yoplait, Chobani and Danone's Dannon and Stonyfield Farm. The New York State plant which was manufacturing Quaker Muller products has been sold to the Dairy Farmers of America coop.

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