KENYA– Tetra Pak Ltd, a multinational food packaging and processing company, has launched a long-life milk consumer campaign geared at educating consumers on the benefits and safety of long life milk products.

This follows a research commissioned by the company last year to investigate the use of long life milk in Kenyan households.

“In almost all Kenyan homes, milk is a must have commodity in the house for both adults and children. The nutritional value of milk in all forms is necessary in almost every household, from the modern to the traditional. Tetra Pak packages long life milk in different formats which can be found in all retail outlets. This campaign supports efforts by the Kenya Dairy Board to educate the public on safe milk,” says Hakan Soderholm, the company’s Managing Director.

According to Stella Ondimu, the Communication Manager, Eastern & Southern Africa, the company will carry out the educational campaign in Kenya alongside a digital campaign on Facebook for a period of three months, plus other platforms including billboards.

It will also engage opinion leaders including nutritionists and bloggers in the campaign, while also communicating directly with consumers.

Long life misconception

According to the company, research carried out by research firm IPSOS Synovate dubbed ‘Understanding Milk consumption in Kenya’ discovered that there is a misconception on long life milk in Kenya.

It concluded that there is a gap in information on what keeps the milk fresh and longer than chilled milk.

Long life milk is produced by subjecting milk to ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) in a system that sterilizes the product by heating it above the temperature required to kill spores, 135 °C (275 °F) for 1 to 2 seconds.

But along the streets, the misinformed consumers will peg the longer shelf life of long life milk to use of preservatives, whose use has been disdained due to their chemical nature.

Others put the nutritional benefit of long life milk in doubt due to the ‘very’ high temperatures used in the processing.

The research also revealed that consumers would like to understand the long life process better and that they would like to see better distribution of the product across the country.

The objectives of the campaign, according to Jackline Kittony, the company’s Marketing Director, is to inform the consumers that long life milk is safe, engage and educate the consumers about its nutritional and other benefits and to create a positive image about these products.

Jackline says that the company believes in having the right information through research so that it can make an informed decision on its actions, hence its decision to engage IPSOS Synovate to carry out the research.

The campaign will also help consumers understand that just like chilled milk, long life milk is a rich source of a number of essential nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, vitamins A and B12, magnesium, carbohydrate and protein.

High growth category in Africa

According to Tetra Pak, long life milk market share in Kenya is estimated to be about 50% of the total processed milk and has been growing steadily for the last three years, from 30% in 2014.

According to Hakan, the growth of long life milk consumption is attributed to its affordability, convenience, availability of the product and the fact that it can also keep fresh for a period of upto six months without refrigeration, in a continent where cold chain is low or non-existent.

“Local dairy companies have invested substantially in long life milk processing and packaging technology. This has had an effect of enhancing competition in the category, which has reduced final consumer prices.

“Long life milk offers the most sustainable, convenient and safe alternative to the rapidly urbanising population in Africa. This will follow the same trend that has been reported in Asia, Europe and the Americas,” he added.