Coles and Woolworths private label milks are equal winners against brands

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th August 2013

The popularity of Australian supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths’ private label milk brands has evened out, but the private labels are still beating branded milks, according to findings from market research organisation Roy Morgan Research.

In the year to March 2013, 22 per cent of Australians bought either Coles or Woolworths private label milk in an average four week period.

According to Roy Morgan Research, home-brand milk sales at both supermarkets has declined after peaking at 26 per cent for Woolworths and 24 per cent for Coles in March 2012 – the first full year of data after Coles introduced its controversial $1 per litre pricing strategy and Woolworths followed.

Some branded milks suffer more than others

Meanwhile, sales of Dairy Farmers and Pura branded milks, which are both owned by food and beverage company Lion, both fell for the fifth straight year. Roy Morgan Research said both brands “were already declining before the pricing battle”. Dairy Farmers branded milk was bought by 16 per cent of Australians in the year to March 2013 (down from about 19 per cent in 2012), and Pura by 8 per cent (down from 9 per cent in 2012).

Pauls brand milk, which is owned by dairy manufacturer Parmalat, stayed steady, with 10 per cent of Australians buying the brand in the year to March 2013. Newer entrant, A2, which is made from milk from dairy cows that only produce the A2 type of milk protein beta-casein, rose from 4 per cent in 2012 to 6 per cent in 2013.

“Heavy price cuts and fierce competition by supermarket home brands have clearly cemented their place in the market while the top two branded white milk brands have declined in popularity,” said Angela Smith, Group Account Manager, Roy Morgan Research. “However, as the instigator of the $1 a litre campaign only Coles, not Woolworths, has seen growth since 2011,” she said.

“In this changing industry, it is important for milk companies to understand the detailed market trends of their brands and competitors to ensure they remain competitive,” Ms Smith said.

Coles still claims branded milks on the rise

Notwithstanding the above mentioned Roy Morgan research, Coles spokesperson, Damian Callachor who is the Manager Stakeholder and Industry Relations for Coles told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News Radio that there had been “an increase of 8 to 10 per cent” in branded milk sales within Coles supermarkets.

Speaking to ABC News Radio, Mr Callachor said that while sales data showed there had been a decline in Coles branded milk, the supermarket group was still selling a “considerable volume of each, and volumes generally are on the increase”.

Private label milks still outsell branded labels