milk 4 me
The idea for Milk 4 Me, a flavoured milk range in cans, came about after distributor Springhill Water met up with German dairy company Munsterland.
"When we met, Munsterland was already producing the liquid, but only in glass bottles," said MD and founder of Springhill Water Richard Blomfield.
"After investigating the UK market, we found that the glass bottles were unsuitable, so we asked Munsterland to supply the product in cans.
"We felt this was something which would be accepted in this country, and which would also bring something new to the flavoured milk category."
The newcomer, which comes in 250ml ring-pull cans in banana, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavours, launched at the Food & Drink Expo in March. Each ambient line has a shelf life of nine months and contains only 1% fat and 2.5% sugar.
So far, Milk 4 Me has been taken into a number of C&Cs and wholesalers, with Wilkinsons poised to sell it from June.
Springhill Water, which is expecting the brand to clock up sales of £1m this year, is hopeful of gaining further listings for the product in the near future.
"The brand has already created a huge amount of interest and we are currently following an initial surge of enquiries. At the same time, further listings are actively being sought," said Blomfield.
In July, the range - which will benefit from promotional activity throughout the year - will be joined on shelf by three soya milk variants, chocolate, vanilla and soya milk with added calcium.
The dairy arena is not a new venture for Springhill Water, which Blomfield and his son Andrew set up together. The former dairy farmers started the company in 2000 when selling bottled water from five natural springs on their land proved more profitable than producing milk.
The £100.8m ready-to-drink flavoured milk category needs a boost. Sales fell 0.9% in the past year, with three of the top five brands recording losses [The Grocer Top Products Survey 2005].