“In the milk category over the past year, we have been seeing that white milk has been declining, but flavored milk has been on the rise as well as lactose-free. So, this really was a perfect kind of combination of bringing growing trends in a dairy category together in one product. And also again, like hitting on that consumer trends and need for lower sugar options.”
Providing nutrition, reducing sugar consumption
The new flavors come at a time when the dairy industry as a whole is facing pinched margins and declines in sales in several categories.
However, the flavored milk and lactose-free segments are two bright spots in the overall market. The global flavored milk market was valued at $38.07bn in 2021 and is expected to reach $57.98bn by 2029, growing at a 5.4% CAGR between 2021 and 2029, spurred by demand for lower calorie milks and local flavors, according to Data Bridge Market Research.
These new flavors also come when many milk producers, including Danone North America and Dairy Farmers of America, are reformulating their flavored milk products to reduce added sugar by the 2025-2026 school year.
While some brands might need to reformulate, Clover Sonoma’s products already have no or low sugar (2mg for its Chocolate flavor), as the sweetness comes from natural sources, Sutula said.
"Lactose-free milk has a naturally sweet flavor profile so when you combine the goodness of organic lactose-free with just a touch of flavor ... through natural sources," Sutula said. "For example, the vanilla we're using is organic vanilla extract, [and] on the strawberry, it's an organic strawberry juice. So, they're natural flavors that you can just put a little piece in or a little splash and to get that overall profile that a kid will feel really excited about."
Clover Sonoma also is delivering on nutrition, with milk providing a high calcium and protein content, Sutula said.
“We are a dairy brand, and we believe in the power of the nutrition of milk. And so, what we're doing is looking at ways to innovate and bring more consumers to understand and want to try the goodness of milk.”
Bringing back consumers to the milk category, boosting sustainability
Clover Sonoma is also looking to advance its sustainability goals to reduce methane emission and boost sustainable packaging, including shifting more of its portfolio to a renewable carton, Sutula said.
Through these efforts, the company is inviting more consumers back to the milk category, including plant-based milk buyers, to see how the dairy industry has evolved to meet their demands, she added.
“The milk category has a lot to offer consumers and in terms of nutrition and sustenance and with much of the work happening around sustainability. It's a category that we hope consumers will come back to and we can get more Gen Z and Millennial consumers involved in the splash of flavor launches a way that we feel consumers can only connected at the highest quality nutrition.”