CHICAGO -- Milk continues to be the dominant beverage category within the store-brand industry, with 63.7% of milk sales generated by private labels in 2003, according to "Store-Brand Drinks, U.S., October 2003," a new report by Mintel International Group here.
Milk tends to be a region-sensitive product, and one that doesn't really boast a major national-brand player.
"When you go into the supermarket, you don't go looking for a brand of milk; you pick up a type of milk," said Marcia Mongelonsky, senior market analyst at Mintel Consumer Intelligence here.
Yet, upon delving deeper into the category, opportunities for private-label growth pop up in various subsegments that have yet to experience store-brand penetration, like flavored milks. Soy milk, in particular, is noteworthy because it represents the fastest-growing area of the overall milk category, with sales jumping from $179 million in 2001 to $298 million in 2003 in the food, drug and mass channels, excluding Wal-Mart. These figures were compiled by Mintel using data from market research firm Information Resources Inc. here. It is a fast-growing segment indeed, but one without store-brand players.
"Why aren't [retailers] out there doing more? A couple are experimenting with soy milk, but not enough to even get on the board here. The traditional dairy case has become a specialized dairy case, and they are missing all these opportunities," Mongelonsky said.