Dairy Crest has unveiled a three-year plan to grow the dairy category by £800m.

The processor this week made public its Dairy for Life strategy, which it hopes will transform consumer behaviour and increase dairy consumption. The plan would “change the way we do business,” claimed Dairy Crest head of category and shopper development Caroline Yates, adding it aimed to alter perceptions of dairy from being a “fridge filler” to a “source of daily inspiration.”

Dairy Crest presented the plan to major retailers during the summer, and is now rolling out its vision to other channels.

“This will now be at the centre of everything we do,” said Yates, adding the commitment to grow the whole category had been welcomed by the major retailers.

Category growth would require work by retailers and suppliers, suggested Dairy Crest MD Martyn Wilks. “We have reviewed our innovation pipeline to ensure that all our plans are aligned to deliver category growth.”

Yates pointed to five key drivers for growth, including encouraging consumers to adopt, or re-adopt, dairy as part of a healthy lifestyle, and driving use of dairy products as an ingredient.

The plan also aims to emphasise dairy’s versatility and nutritional value, its relevance as a healthy snack, and ability to deliver new “taste and texture experiences.”

Plans for sub-categories (cheese, butters, spreads and oils, dairy drinks, and milk and cream) have been developed, with weight given to the opportunities offered by dairy drinks. “Trends show that protein-based dairy drinks are very much here to stay, while drinks targeted at children are also a driver of growth within the dairy drink sub-category,” claimed Yates. On-the-go consumption of dairy products was a further key area of growth, she added.