Müller Dairy UK advertising & marketing assignments

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In less than 20 years from its arrival in the UK in 1987, Müller, the German range of yoghurt pots and desserts, rose to become one of the country's leading food brands, outselling virtually every other edible product in supermarkets except megabrands like Kellogg, Cadbury and Heinz. It was an astonishing achievement, matched by the brand's dominance in its domestic market. More recently, though, Müller has faced increasing competition from more traditionally healthy functional products such as Danone's Activia and Actimel. It remains one of the UK's best-selling food and beverage brands but sales have been steadily falling. In 2020, Nielsen (in The Grocer) estimated sales of £147m for Müller Corner (narrowly ahead of Activia), while Müller Light slipped by over 12% to £117m. The group also holds the local license to produce potted desserts under the Cadbury brand. In 2012, Müller expanded its footprint in the UK through the acquisition for £280m of Robert Wiseman Dairies, one of the country's biggest suppliers of fresh milk. In 2015, after a protracted regulatory review, it completed the acquisition of the dairies business of rival Dairy Crest, including its Frijj flavoured milk brand. As a result, the rebranded Müller Milk & Ingredients division is now the UK's biggest milk processor, handling around a quarter of local supply. Müller Milk is now the #2 branded milk in the UK, but it sits far behind Arla's Cravendale. The group also supplies milk to supermarkets for own-label and direct to consumers under the Milk & More delivery service, but has been struggling with infrastructure reforms as well as a consumer shift towards "healthier" dairy-free milks. A move into butter production was even less successful. Despite commissioning a huge new plant, a block butter launched in 2015 didn't take off. A new attempt to crack that market came with Müller Spreadable, launched in 2018, but it met with a similar lack of success. The group is an official sponsor of British Atletics and Athletics Ireland, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Luxemburg-based Theo Müller Group. Performance has come under considerable pressure over the past couple of years. Relative stability in the yoghurt business has been undercut by fierce competition in fresh milk. Revenues reported by Müller UK & Ireland peaked in 2017 at £2.1bn before slipping back. The figure for 2019 fell just below £1.9bn, and the group has reported a net loss every year since 2013, in most cases in excess of £100m a year. The deficit for 2019 was £76m. Processing and distribution of milk and associated products accounts for 75% of revenues, while sales of yoghurts and desserts were just £394m in the latest year. Jon Jenkins succeeded Patrick Müller, one of several sons of the group's controlling shareholder Theo Müller, as CEO of Müller Milk & Ingredients in 2020. Justin Cook was appointed as CEO of Müller Yoghurts & Desserts in 2021.

Capsule checked 22nd December 2020

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Who are the competitors of Müller? Müller's main competitors in the UK are Arla, Danone, General Mills Yoplait, Yeo Valley, Emmi and Fage. See Food Sector index for other companies

Historical profile information for Müller Group

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Marketer Moves 17th Jan 2022: New strategy & marketing director at Muller Yogurt & Desserts. See Marketer Moves (members only).

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