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How do we perceive milk? Nutritious? Tasty? Basic commodity? Probably those and many other descriptions are suitable for milk and all of them show the importance of this product also for packaging.
However, not all countries have a tradition or habit of consuming milk very often. Russia is one of them. It’s total per capita consumption of milk was 32 litres in 2009, far behind world leaders Finland (122 litres per capita in 2009) or United Kingdom (98 litres per capita in 2009). This fact is very challenging for milk producers in Russia, and so they have become particularly innovative in their attempts to encourage consumers to buy and consume milk on daily basis.
After being particularly hard hit, Russia is starting to recover from the economic downturn and healthy economic growth is predicted in 2010. Real GDP growth of 4% is forecast in 2010 with the economy strengthening in the medium term. We are seeing consumer confidence improving alongside a growing in disposable incomes. These facts should acts as a green light for manufacturers and packagers of milk in Russia as they allow for the development of new packaging launches in this category.
Large metal churns of fresh milk is the classic image from the very far past for the majority of consumers. Now milk is packed and sold in a wider variety of pack types of different shapes and sizes with different closures fitted. So is there room for any other packaging innovations?
Valio ooo, the Russian subsidiary of Finnish dairy manufacturer Valio, which imports dairy products to Russia, hit upon the idea of introducing new packaging for milk in order to make it more appealing and more up-to-date for consumers.
Together with a local Russian design company, Valio ooo, in 2010, suggested packing milk in 500 ml metal beverage cans. Such packaging is marketed as light, easy to open, and the quality of the product remains the same as in any other more conventions packaging like liquid cartons.
Will it be appealing and will it push consumers to drink more milk? This question will be no doubt answered in the near future, however, the perception of milk as a traditional product in more conventional packaging, like liquid cartons or rigid plastic packaging remains very strong in Russia.