CELEBRATING 25 years of the most popular WA-manufactured flavoured milk attracted the attention, but this week Brownes Dairy quietly expanded its push into national markets.
Limited release of a retro-style Percolated Coffee CHILL carton and an advertising campaign featuring the CHILL barista ad of 19 years ago – along with its ear-worm soundtrack – marked 25 years of Brownes Dairy’s CHILL range.
Brownes was the first dairy company to introduce a coffee flavoured milk drink to WA.
But it is another milk coffee product spearheading Brownes’ push into national markets, the premium, single-origin, cold-brew, no-added-sugar milk coffee range that Brownes manufactures and packages at its Balcatta plant.
This week the Balcatta-produced range went on sale nationally in IGA supermarkets.
As reported in Farm Weekly, it went into Woolworths’ supermarket dairy cabinets nationally in November, the first time it was made available outside WA.
It is scheduled to be added to Coles’ supermarket dairy displays nationally in May – a timing determined by Coles’ annual product review window rather than milk volumes or production capacity at WA’s largest and oldest milk processor.
The range is scheduled to be joined on the national market by Brownes’ own label and innovatively packaged range of squeeze yoghurts in April.
Brownes managing director Tony Girgis said the purchase of the company by Chinese dairy giant Shanghai Ground Food Tech 14 months ago had enabled the push into new markets.
“Since the change of ownership we’ve invested in a couple of key pieces of kit,” Mr Girgis said.
“One is a state-of-the-art ESL (extended shelf life milk) filler which has given us enormous flexibility.
“So now when we are talking to retailers or anyone else, we are having a national conversation rather than a local conversation, and we’ll be adding further investments to that line within the next six months.
“The other is a yoghurt filler.
“That should be arriving at the end of February and will be commissioned in March.
“Once again, it will give us quite a bit of flexibility.
“What’s happened in the market over the years is consumers are looking for innovation, so the days of big-volume long production runs are pretty much gone.
“You have to be prepared to be asked to produce pretty much anything within an economic envelope for the best price.
“The change of ownership has been terrific for us because it’s given us the ability to do that.
“You’ll see in the next 12 months some new innovations rolled out, I don’t want to give too much away but again there’s a focus on no sugar and no preservatives.
Further strengthening Brownes’ milk processing market share, from next month it begins processing and packaging WAFarmersFirst full-cream and Hi-Lo milk sold in Coles and some IGA supermarkets.
It has taken the WAFarmers’ contract from Parmalat-owned Harvey Fresh which has processed and packaged the brand since it was introduced in 2014 to try to counter the impact on dairy farmers of the introduction in 2011 of $1-a-litre milk.
Brownes Dairy staff celebrated the CHILL flavoured milk range’s 25th birthday with a special morning tea on Friday last week at the Balcatta milk processing plant with a birthday cake shaped and decorated as an original Percolated Coffee CHILL carton.
Three of the six actors who played baristas in the iconic 2000 CHILL ad, the composer who came up with the repetitive ear-worm music and the original voice-over man – who also voices the current retro CHILL ad with flashbacks to the original – also visited the plant on Friday.