Case study of Muller groups
Muller is a multinational producer of dairy products, with a headquarters in Fischach in the German state of Bavaria. Muller has a turnover of €5 billion. It is one of the UK’s best selling yogurt brands and has 21,000 employees.
In 1971, Theobald Alfons Muller incorporated a small dairy in the Bavarian town of Aretsried with just four employees. Today, the Muller Group is an extended family of over 25,000 people. Now it became a fast growing, international, chilled-food business with operations in more than 10 countries. Muller rank as the largest private dairy in Germany and it held the market leading position in yogurt segment since 1995. Muller subsequently acquired several top dairy players in Europe such as Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crests in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Now it has a substantial presence in the British dairy sector. The current agenda is to be an employer of choice within the food and drink industry, and to be recognised as a great place to work. We are ambitious and determined to achieve our aspiration to build a truly diverse dairy business which is the best in the UK.
A visionary approach
The Muller brand is recognised by almost 100% of the German population and is the cornerstone of the group. This is down to decades of category innovation, from Muller Reine Buttermilch and Mullermilch to the corner yogurt and Froop. A visionary approach runs through the business, from new product development to process to our facilities. The largest of the Muller Group plants is located in Leppersdorf, Saxony, near to Dresden in Germany. This is Europe’s most modern dairy and around 820 million has been put into its construction and expansion since 1994. A 2,215-strong workforce is now employed here and 1.7 billion kg of fresh milk is delivered each year.
In 2007, the group invested 22 million in the construction of the world’s first bio-ethanol plant, which is located at Leppersdorf. It produces 10 million litres a year of this environmentally friendly fuel additive, which comes from the whey by-product, molasses. They also recycle around 1.5 million litres of process water a day, which is treated at a vapour processing plant. This facility purifies the water to a quality comparable with drinking water so it can be fed into the production process and used again. The large-scale WHEY IV project was successfully completed in summer 2011, following an investment of around 70 million. This will provide access to new future-oriented markets for the Muller Group, including sports nutrition, baby food and clinical nutrition.
In addition to the milk-processing subsidiaries, the Muller Group also included in the packaging company named as Optipack GmbH, its own logistics company Culina and Fahrzeugtechnik Aretsried GmbH. Muller Nature farm is one of the largest fruit-processing companies in Germany and number three in Europe with production of 110,000 tonnes a year.
Brand innovation in Muller’s Group
When Muller came to us in 2012, over 1 million people had lost their desire for a delicious, yummy Muller Corner. As well as increasing pressure from the competition of other dairy products, their packaging design was turning consumers off. They were starting to stray to other brands. The brief of Muller group was to redesign the complete Muller range, to be an ‘invitation’, rather than a signpost. Moreover, consumers’ perceptions of what delicious food look like having moved on with the advent of celebrity chefs and programmes such as the Great British Bake Off. They needed to create desire and define individual propositions and personalities for each of the sub barns to aid consumer navigation and get consumers to fall back in love with the brand. Visual Planning helped Muller define individual propositions, with the iconic Corners being beautifully delicious and enticing. At only 99 calories, Light taps into the target mindset of being fun and fashionable and having it all Sassy lusciousness yogurts in kitten heels whilst Rice is a delicious, healthier snack brimming with gorgeous tasty goodness.
The iconic Corners brand is now beautifully enticing with the corner peel back acting as a tempting invitation into a moment of pleasure. Muller Light has been given a sassy, stylish and light-hearted personality and Rice is bright, optimistic and healthful with the introduction of more natural cues. The continuation to work closely with Muller designing the packaging and developing names for award winning NPD whipped Greek Style Bliss and Muller Light Fruit polis. The Muller Light portfolio has been further differentiated with Greek Style products, bringing to life the picture postcard escapism whilst sub brand Goodies takes customers to a delicious patisserie moment. With the launch of Muller Rice 5 Grains, Muller have created a sub brand that leverages the visual language of wholegrain and breakfast to appeal to consumer’s desire for more healthy breakfast options.
The launching of Muller again in December 2012 returned Muller to the number 1 position in the chilled yogurts category with a 10.3% value share, and a £13 million year on year increase in sales, resulting in a prestigious GOLD DBA award for the Coley Porter Bell team.
Today, Muller Light and Muller Corner hold the number 1 and 2 positions in the chilled yogurts category respectively.