This year’s Dairymen brings some fresh thinking to the milk aisle, with the help of creative agency Synergis

The need to add value back into milk has been a recurring – and increasingly urgent – theme for the dairy industry of late. It also forms the backdrop for much of this year’s Dairymen supplement.

We have unearthed some great examples – across all dairy sub-categories – of how suppliers and retailers are working to create new, innovative products designed to reinforce to consumers that high-quality dairy fare is worth paying a fair price for.

But adding value is not simply about creating new products – you also need the right environment for these products to be sold. So we’ve taken a look at what role the supermarket milk fixture could play in creating a more ‘value-friendly’ environment for selling that most iconic of dairy products – milk. Creative agency Synergis helped us create four alternative fixture designs, which we then put up for discussion with a number of category experts.

We approached this project very much with premium milks in mind – be they filtered, functional or flavoured. These represent one of the best opportunities for returning value to the category and we wanted to give them greater stand-out in the fixture.

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Our expert panel agreed it was time to rethink how and where these milks are merchandised. One described the current fixture layout as “the least tidy part of the store”. Their views on our designs and our vision for the fixture throw up some fascinating and, at times, surprising insights on shopper behaviour and category management, which you will be able to read in our supplement this Saturday (1 September).

What also stood out was our experts’ unanimous desire for more colour and theatre in the milk aisle. As public interest in milk – and milk prices – has soared following the summer’s #sosdairy protests, a number of retailers have added ad hoc signs to their shelves to inform their customers about their milk price policies and support for dairy farmers. But our panel felt much more could be done to bring the story behind milk to life in-store.

The milk fixture simply feels too clinical at the moment, especially when compared with the more colourful designs and provenance cues of the fresh produce aisles. We need to bring the countryside into stores, talk about retailer producer groups, reconnect consumers with the farm story and use the fixture to tell consumers about the goodness of milk, they argued.

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Putting a bit on the website and printing the odd leaflet isn’t enough,” one of our experts said. “Out there, when people are shopping, no-one remembers.”

Given how much consumer interest there is in milk at the moment, this would seem an ideal time to start thinking creatively to ensure that story is no longer forgotten in-store.

You can see all of the fixture designs created for us by Synergis in our Dairymen supplement.

Watch the video preview of this year's Dairymen