Pump up the VolumePosted on 6th March 2018

 

In the dark months of Winter, as the cold chill winds numb the body and brain, as simply doing the routine tasks is a chore, it's hard to engage the spirit in creating and delivering the new, the different, to face the challenges of looking forward and most important of being even more relevant.

 

The sheer pace of change in the consumer process will never leave our long established, rarely comfortable, demanding and challenging dairy trade in anything like the peace we might all desire, and some can get left behind.

 

As observed previously, the blurred visions of 2017, will doubtless slowly take shape through the hazy cocktail of price changes, Brexit impact, mature profile shortage, exchange rate uncertainty, technical demands, retail price wars and of course the important consumer piece.

 

An Ageing population, new channels of supply via on line, and Amazon, concerns whether real or imagined over debt and spending capacity, health messages, convenience formats in both product and retail, more single households impacting on volume requirements, snacking and eating on the go, freshness as a concept in itself, limiting waste, packaging technology, marketing channels, routes to market and so much more, make the hurdles to be overcome less distinct, but appearing out of the blue at lightning speed. So doubtless many will hunker down and wait for certainty and sustainability to return.

 

But someone has to do it, someone has to seize the day, because doing nothing is often a terminal disease and those who are nibble, alert, ready to change and invest especially at the low point of the economic dial may well find the market less crowded and the ideas easier to land. Indeed some of the trends may be easier to realise than some consider.

 

It's a possibility that Britishness will return, with slight variations for Scottishness, Welshness, Irishness and Englishness, as the Brexit debate becomes more bitter, and politicians of different EEC nations make unpopular statements, is  it likely a percentage of our countrymen will think it's time again to buy British, use British milk, use British cheese, so maybe waving the flag on products labels say via red tractor, the union flag, or other clear British identity may help to alert our consumer.

 

Product development too, need not be a high hurdle, indeed some may be simply about a brand refresh, a label redesign, a size change or straightforward relaunch. It sometimes takes a new step to attract those who have become blind to what appears commonplace.

 

Size matters in cheese as an attraction to pick up and purchase. Buy me whole units find favour in both straight buyer attraction, as well as catering and even some retail channels, where waste can be reduced. It extends channel distribution where it's fixed weight, and it's always worth making it look premium, after all you are what you appear

 

Convenience too is a rising demand from consumers, extending as it does from easy open, size of unit, ready prepared, and thoughts of its usage in the consumers possession. All shoppers seek less hassle, less waste more ease of use, and partnerships with those capable of packing and wrapping may well open new channels to brand development.

 

And then there is knowledge, there is a real thirst for this, as consumers seek what our American cousins call, the edge! Quite simply, that piece of knowledge, background, snippet of history, fact or distinction that makes a product unique and different.

 

Whole marketing departments in megalith cheddar makers spin yarns about the uniqueness of their product to distinguish themselves in the cattle market mass cheddar channel, and few have a truly unique story. So what is your unique identity, that item of interest repeated around the dinner table, or to friends over a glass of wine and cheese that gets embellished with the telling. What is your edge over rivals, competitors or the region or market in general. If you have a story it needs telling succinctly and often

 

So as the Spring and Summer beckons, the smiles and positivity returns as the warmth and opportunity breaks through, it's time, whether in image, and design, in new product or convenience, in story or history to pump up the volume.