In this report, Godwin Anyebe, Amechi Obiakpu and Adetunji Faleye, all of MediaConsortium, a leading brand, business and Marketing publication in Nigeria and sub-sahara Africa examine the obscurity of Coast milk in the market and how it can be brought back to its glory days.
Over the years, milk has been an essential and nutritious beverage that is consumed by millions of people the world over. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial for maintaining a healthy body.
Milk is particularly important for children, as it provides the nutrients necessary for growth and development. It is also important for pregnant and nursing mothers, as it provides the necessary nutrients for the development of the fetus and the growth of the baby.
Overall, milk is a vital component of a healthy diet and plays a significant role in maintaining good health and well-being. That’s why many households arguably depend on it for their staple diets like cheese, beverages, baking foods of all kinds and more with delight.
However, current milk production does not meet the market demand of 1.45 billion litres per annum. In fact, according to report by statista.com, revenue in the milk segment amounts to US$4.71bn in 2023 and the market is expected to grow annually by 7.28% (CAGR 2023-2027).
In relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$21.18 are generated in 2023, while the average volume per person in the milk segment is expected to amount to 9.35kg in 2023. The Milk segment is also expected to show a volume growth of 7.6% in 2024, while the volume is expected to amount to 1.87bn kg by 2027.
Interestingly, to increase milk production in Nigeria, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, in 2020 completed the acquisition of Nutricima’s dairy business in Nigeria by acquiring the company’s production facility in Ikorodu, Lagos State, and the brand’s products like Olympic, Coast and Nunu, a range of powdered, evaporated and ready-to-drink milk.
The Coast Milk Story
Before the acquisition, market sources say these brands already had a fair presence across the Nigerian dairy market. However, after the acquisition the brands are gradually disappearing from the market. A prognosis that made some industry analysts believed and alleged that the acquisition was meant to silence competition.
Understanding the potential in dairy industry, in 2021, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, one of Nigeria’s foremost dairy company and makers of Peak and Three Crowns milk, re-launched Coast milk alongside Olympic and Nunu milk brands into the Nigerian market through the ‘Word twist’ campaign.
The new ‘Word twist’ campaign requires consumers to compose meaningful sentences with Coast, Olympic, and Nunu for a chance to win fantastic prizes.
For example, “You can now Coast to natural goodness like the fastest man alive cruises to Olympic medals with one Nunu milk a day in your meal.”
The company disclosed that the campaign became necessary following FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s acquisition of PZ Nutricima and its brands; Olympic, Coast, and Nunu.
The company further explained that FrieslandCampina is committed to bringing affordable and readily available quality dairy products to Nigerians and with the acquisition, it will be able to meet the growing demands of its consumers, adding that, Coast Milk promises natural goodness and therefore it is a perfect match that will work well with consumers who wish to stick to natural-made products.
Coast Milk Powder is made of the most delicious pure cow’s milk. Coast Whole Milk Powder has a rich and creamy taste and contains important nutrients like Calcium, Protein and Vitamin A. It is a natural product, does not contain any preservatives and dissolves easily in warm and cold previously boiled water. In addition to making a milk drink, Coast Milk Powder can also be used for cooking, baking and with cereals. Coast Milk Powder is packed in convenient re-closable tins and has a shelf life of 24 months when stored correctly. It is also available in pouches and sachets.
Sadly, this promising brand liked by many consumers has vanished in many retail shops across Nigeria. Market checks carried out by the Intelligent Unit of MediaConsortium, a reliable brands and marketing magazine show that Coast Milk brand has become very scarce in the market when compared to other milk brands and may likely go into extinction if something urgent is not done by the handlers.
For example, a shop owner in Gombe town, Gombe State told our correspondent that, he cannot remember the last time he received supply of Coast Milk, noting that, when a consumer asks for a product one or two times without a positive response, he is likely to switch loyalty to another brand.
In the same vein, another shop owner, Dahiru Abdullahi in Karu, Nasarawa State disclosed that, in the last 15 months, the brand was still moving and consumers were patronising it but, he became surprised when he stopped receiving supply of the product.
A visit to some sales outlets in Egbeda, in Lagos, revealed that the Coast milk brand was conspicuously missing. In the cases where they are found, the condition at which they are displayed shows a picture of either low demand for the product or inadequate publicity to create a top-of-the-mind awareness for it. For example, a visit to Jendor Super Store, Egbeda outlet- one of the few outlets where the brand was found – it did not command attention from buyers as other diary brands both within the Friesland Campina stable and others.
The story of Coast milk was not better at Justrite Superstore – 189 Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State. When our reporter asked for the Coast milk brand, an attendant in the store, Mohammed Bukarat said it has been long that they have the brand on the shelf.
At shop 254 along Ishaga – Ajuwon road and Chidera Store, Doland, Heritage Estate, Akute, Ogun State, no sign of physical presence of Coast milk was seen in both shops.
A retailer, Muhammed Mukaila who has other milk brands in his shop behind Fadipe Estate Akute, Ogun State said “it’s been long that he has seen Coast milk in the market.”
Speaking on this development, marketing expert, Ibrahim Omale told MediaConsortium that, one of the reasons why the brand is struggling could be due to the fact that, Almonds are the new cow, so are cashews, coconuts, beans and peas. And pretty much any plant-based ingredients that can be turned into frothy, creamy, and delicious plant-based milk. No cow required.
According to him, consumers are flocking to non-dairy milk like cows flock to hay. It’s looking an awful lot like the tide is turning to greener pastures (perhaps because they’re growing nitrogen-fixing peas.)
He stated also that, relying too much on a health benefit to differentiate a new food or beverage is the most common reason for failure in functional foods and beverages, reveals a new report from New Nutrition Business. “Surprisingly often, companies make the health benefit the sole point of difference for the product, undervaluing key factors such as convenience, adding that when a product is essentially a me-too, with a health benefit attached, it’s inviting failure.
Efforts made to speak with Oreoluwa Famurewa, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Friesland Campina was abortive. Also, there was no reply to messages sent to her phone concerning the scarcity of Coast milk in the market. However, Chris Wulff Caeser, Marketing Director, Friesland Campina told MediaConsortium in a telephone chat that Coast milk is everywhere in the market and selling. He noted that since the acquisition of the brand’ Friesland Campina has ensured that the Coast milk brand alongside Nunu and Olympic milk remain in the market to service the Nigerian public.
Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation with MediaConsortium, a staff of Friesland Campina, refuted the claim that Coast milk is not in the market, stating that the company did not acquire Coast milk to lose it. The staff who spoke to MediaConsortium on the condition of anonymity said, Coast milk is a regional brand with particular focus in the South-west and touchpoints in the South east and other areas.
“FrieslandCampina’s mission statement is ‘nourishing by nature’. It stands for better nutrition for the world, a good living for our farmers, now and for generations to come. We did not acquire PZ Nutricima to lose it but to expand our product offerings for the brands and to grow demand.
“And since then, we have supported the brands to grow starting from the relaunch in 2021 after the acquisition in 2020, both with commercial support and collaborations.
“Our sales record shows that we are doing well in Lagos and other states especially in the South west. Our concern is about nourishing the Nigerian populace and our consumers especially, without also taking our eyes from sales. But, we need to also understand there is also the market side- in terms of demand,” the staff said.
Meanwhile, a geo-tag photo sent to MediaConsortium shows real time display of Coast milk in some outlets in Owo, Akure, Ondo State and Ibadan, Oyo State capital among a few other locations.
What to do
American billionaire investor Warren Buffett, speaking at a Coca-Cola shareholders’ conference, said: “I like to study failure. The smartest people know that studying the failures of others teaches us how to succeed.” He adds, “Examining the most common mistakes that companies make enables others to avoid and increases their chances of success.”
A critical look at how Coast milk nosedived into obscurity in the dairy market will also enable the company to restrategize and bring it back to its glory days if there is sincerity of purpose for the brand.
Checks also revealed that if FrieslandCampina Wamco employs the same marketing strategies used to position Peak milk and Three Crown milk, Coast milk will become a sought after milk brands in the market.
To achieve this, experts advise that the brand custodians must also engage in heavy use of consumer focus groups and surveys. They say when consumers fill out survey about a brand, they are contributing data that could be used for market repositioning.