2 minutes of your time: Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson

It’s a great time to be milking the dairy category, says Wayne Thompson of FrieslandCampina, the company behind the hugely popular YAZOO brand.


Wayne Thompson is the Business Unit Controller for OOH at FrieslandCampina, the dairy company that owns a host of milk drinks, most notably its YAZOO brand, which includes the new Limited-Edition Jaffalicious Choc-Orange flavour and the innovative YAZOO KiDS range. Before joining the company over three years ago, he held several buyer roles for big-four supermarket Sainsbury’s.

How is flavoured milk performing in convenience?

The category is worth over £382m [IRI, Jan 2021]. YAZOO is the number one traditional flavoured milk brand, making it a must stock. We are the only brand in the category to offer both larger multi-serve and multi-pack formats, so our focus has been to offer value and relevancy to deliver for key shopper and consumer occasions through all formats.

Convenience has seen strong growth this year, led entirely by local retailers which deliver 49% of brand sales [IRI, Apr 2021]. Out of Home has always been YAZOO’s traditional heartland so it has continued to be a massive priority for us, and despite challenging circumstances this past year, we remain the largest Traditional Flavoured Milk brand in the channel, with 33% share [IRI, Apr 2021].

What are the key trends?

Taste continues to be the number one reason why consumers buy flavoured milk products. Chocolate remains the most popular flavour with over 50% market share [IRI, Apr 2021], but for YAZOO, our strawberry flavour performs about as well as that. This year’s Limited-Edition Jaffalicious Choc-Orange has gained strong traction since launch.

Health credentials will always be a key driver and we’re always reminding shoppers about the goodness of dairy drinks. Take home has skyrocketed and sharing packs currently now account for over 30% of the category [IRI, Jan 2021]. Over the past six months, sharing packs have grown of 5.6% by value vs single serve, which has suffered 8.4% decline [IRI, Jan 2021]. YAZOO single serve still accounts for 64% brand share [IRI, Apr 2021], however recent growth has come through from the larger 1L pack format, gaining 2% brand share in convenience in the past.

What’s new?

Our fourth limited edition flavour, Jaffalicious Choc-Orange, launched this year. Previous limited editions have proved very popular and with the series delivering upwards of £7m [IRI, 2017-2020] incremental sales to the category.

This year, we’ve also linked up again with Merlin Group to offer shoppers the chance to win two-for-one tickets to Thorpe Park and Alton Towers across our permanent and Limited-Edition flavours in individual and sharing size formats.

How will the pandemic affect brand performance in the future?

For us, the impact of Covid-19 has been twofold: on-the-go missions have been adversely affected, however there have been big upsides.  With people spending more time at home, buyers are looking for brands that deliver as well in home as they do out of home. Household names have an opportunity here to maximise their reputations and see growth.

Even with the change of occasions, we are still seeing growth as shoppers are more likely to try new variants and formats from brands they already know and trust. We predict take home packs will continue to dominate and on-the-go occasions will be slow to return. However, beyond this, we expect much of convenience-based consumption will return to normal.

How are you responding to the sustainability challenge?

We recently transitioned from 20% to 100% rPET packaging across our 300ml and 400ml packs, which also feature easy peelable sleeves to make stripping and correct recycling even simpler. The move is expected to save over 32m kilograms of non-recycled plastic and has been finalised ahead of schedule – the end of 2021 – with the rest of the range due to follow next year.

And finally, what advice do you have for retailers? 

Include sharing sizes of popular brands and products and move products into the chiller if you can. Position on-the-go formats front of store and at eye level, and  dedicate space to both best-selling flavours and new launches from reliable brands.