Arla BOB semi skimmed

Source: Arla Foods UK 

The NPD went on sale this week in Asda and has been in development for four years

Arla has expanded its B.O.B fat-free milk brand with the launch of a new semi-skimmed variant it says “tastes like whole milk”.

In development for the past four years, Arla B.O.B semi-skimmed launched in Asda stores nationally on 1 January (rsp: £2.50/two litres), and contained half the fat of standard whole milk.

The product is manufactured at Arla’s site in Aylesbury, with its whole milk taste profile and texture achieved by adding milk protein, found naturally in milk, to semi-skimmed milk.

Using ceramic filters to remove the bacteria that typically turns milk sour, the NPD also “stays fresher and tastier for longer”, Arla said, and was a reaction to an “unmet need” by shoppers for an “everyday milk that doesn’t compromise on taste”.

In a taste test undertaken with 212 regular consumers of fresh whole or semi-skimmed milk, some 80% agreed the new B.O.B variant tasted like whole milk, Arla added.

The B.O.B brand was first launched – as Arla Best of Both – in 2016, with a milk boasting the fat content of skimmed with the taste of semi-skimmed. Arla then started rolling out a mature cheddar variant, with 30% less fat than standard mature, in January 2022.

“Consumer needs are always the key decision maker when it comes to exploring new product developments at Arla B.O.B, and the need for a milk that delivered a taste of whole milk was one that we could not ignore,” said Arla Foods head of milk, organic and yoghurt Catriona Mantle.

“Arla B.O.B skimmed milk has been a trusted staple in fridges for the past six years, and we know that our loyal customers choose Arla B.O.B as it offers a healthier milk choice,” she added.

The new semi-skimmed variant was “a game-changer in the fresh milk category”, she claimed, “allowing consumers to indulge, whether that be by creating a tasty latte, or by adding a splash to make a creamy mac and cheese recipe. There really is no other milk like it in the dairy aisle.”

Bottles also carry the logo of the Arla CARE farm assurance scheme for branded milk, launched last autumn, which “gives shoppers the confidence that their milk is produced with the highest on-farm standards”.

Sales of Arla’s branded milks, which include B.O.B and Big Milk, rose by 6.4% to £51.4m last year, according to data from The Grocer’s recent Top Products issue [NielsenIQ 52 w/e 10 September 2022].

Volumes, however, fell by 5.7% on the back of an average price increase of 12.8% as inflation took hold of the milk category.

The supplier’s Lactofree brand saw sales climb by 3.6% to £60.9m, with volumes down 12.7% amid an 18.7% average price increase. Market leader Cravendale, meanwhile, saw sales fall by 0.3% to £207.4m, with volumes down 10.8% on the back of a 11.9% price hike, with Arla’s Mantle putting the trio’s drop in sales down to shoppers trading down to (comparatively) lower-priced milk in own label.

It comes as Arla is also due to launch a new Arla Protein pudding this week, available in three flavours: chocolate, salted caramel and hazelnut latte. The puddings are lactose-free, low-calorie and have added vitamin D and magnesium, in addition to 20g of protein.