At the heart of Danone’s mission is a quantified aim to “bring health through food to as many people as possible.” In order to achieve this, Danone’s products need to be accessible and affordable, and to match the tastes and needs of consumers. And, as Danone is an international group with a wide variety of brands operating in many countries, this requires an extensive understanding of local specificities. Reaching a quantitative goal (“as many people as possible”) is thus highly dependent on developing a qualitative offer that strives to understand and meet the needs of local populations. In Indonesia, the Milkuat brand is a good example of a holistic strategy that addresses health, taste and economic concerns in one product, and uses an original distribution circuit.
Developing snacks suited to the needs of the children
In Indonesia, child nutrition is a major issue.
A 2010 survey from the Ministry of Health demonstrated that over 35% of children between 4 and 15 years old were stunted, while over 11% were underweight and over 9% were overweight. Of children aged 4 to 14, 40% suffer from iron deficiency.
This issue concerns the parents, of course, but also the schools, in quite a crucial way: 70% of an Indonesian child’s food intake is consumed outside the home. They are given pocket money every day to buy food from school canteens or street sellers. And a study led by the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration between 2006 and 2010 showed that 45% of snacks offered at school do not meet proper health standards: some cause microbiota contamination, others are packed with an excessive amount of food additives, and some even contain dangerous substances. Another constraint is that 65% of the children live on less than 3 euros a day, which makes their snack budget extremely tight.
In this context, Danone launched its Milkuat range (the name derives from the Indonesian word for “strong”, “kuat”) in 2004. Milkuat, a lactic acid beverage (LAB), is priced at around 1,000 rupees (10 euro cents) and is enriched with vitamins and calcium. It comes in various flavours and sizes, in bottles and pouches. In 2011, another product was launched in the UHT milk segment: the Milkuat Tigerbottle, shaped to resemble the brand’s mascot, containing milk fortified with iron and zinc to address key micro-nutrient deficiencies, with low fat levels to avoid obesity and low sugar levels to avoid diabetes.
Milkuat products aim to match local constraints and needs in terms of both price and content: the brand’s strategy relies on affordability and availability. But the range has gone even further in this direction, by developing a distribution channel tailored to the children’s daily lives. The products are thus sold where the youngsters usually buy their snacks, i.e. in school canteens, reaching millions of children in thousands of schools.
Supporting healthy nutritional habits
Selling fortified milk and lactic beverages is just one step on the way to fostering better nutrition for Indonesian children. Danone Indonesia states that it is its
social mission to provide elementary school kids with healthy food & basic nutrition knowledge.
To achieve that, Milkuat has partnered with Persagi (Indonesia’s Nutrition Expert Organisation), BPOM (Indonesia’s National Food and Drug Administrator) and the Ministry of Education to develop a Nutrition Education Programme for elementary schools, in order to raise awareness of healthy nutrition among the children, their parents, their teachers and canteen owners. The aim is to develop knowledge on nutrition, and subsequently to stimulate behavioural change towards healthier eating habits. The training was provided in 1,500 schools in 2012, and a nutrition education impact study with Persagi is underway to measure the effectiveness of the programme, with results coming soon.
In 2012, Milkuat reached the figure of 1 billion “consumption moments” per year, which means that every minute, 2,000 children consume a Milkuat product. Milkuat has now become Indonesian children’s favourite brand; they are fond of the Tiger mascot that embodies a “fun, courageous and optimistic attitude” and encourages them to adopt it in their lives.
Thanks to a finely-tuned balance between price, taste, nutrition, distribution and educational needs and expectations in Indonesia, these products are achieving success for the company and better health for consumers.
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