Double blow for Müller as it axes two ranges

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Müller has suffered a double whammy of NPD failures, bowing out of the UK flavoured milk market less than six months after entering it - as well as pulling its Müllerlight big pots.

UK distribution of the three-strong Müller Milk range, which was launched in August and imported from Müller Group in Germany, ceased on 8 January.

The range’s disappearance from UK shelves is a significant blow to Müller - it leads the category in its home market of Germany, selling about 120 million bottles a year.

Müller Milk had achieved “good levels of sale” while on promotion and feedback from consumers and trade customers had been positive, said commercial director Colin Smith.

But, he added, high levels of promotional discounting in the category meant it would have been “difficult to develop Müller Milk as a sustainable and profitable addition to our UK portfolio in the long term”.

Prior to being pulled, Müller Milk was sold in a limited number of supermarkets and convenience stores, including Nisa, Morrisons and Budgens.

In December, the company withdrew its 450g Müllerlight big pots, which were reintroduced in October 2010 after originally being pulled from shelves in 2003. Müller declined to say why the range had been axed, but said it would be “reviewing opportunities” for big pots in 2012.

Müller’s exit from the UK flavoured milk and big pots categories follows a number of senior departures from the company in late 2011. In November, Müller announced the departure of UK CEO Gharry Eccles. The following month, it was reported that marketing director Lee Rolston would also be leaving the company - and Müller announced it would make up to 55 staff across the UK and Ireland redundant. It blamed rising raw material costs.

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