Congratulations to Lewis Road Creamery. Word about the NZ chocolate milk frenzy has spread all the way to Europe, where World Tour By SIAL Paris international jury has awarded Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk as the New Zealand country winner.

Judges from 28 countries gathered in Paris in April to assess 84 product finalists, grouped into different consumer trends. According to SIAL Paris judges, Lewis Road’s originality lies in the collaboration between two existing products, each made from the very best NZ ingredients. Launched with a very small marketing budget that caused an unpredictable response, this milk continues to shine as a great example of cross pollination between two trusted premium brands.

Always striving to offer consumers the world’s best dairy products, Lewis Road broke into the stagnant flavoured milk category with an ‘all or nothing’ attitude.
It was not by chance that, just six weeks after its launch, this product became the market leader in its category, despite a meagre 32 percent national distribution. Smashing the company’s initial goal of 10 percent market share within two years, the milk ended up providing category growth for the first time in over three years, and today enjoys market share of 55 percent, nationwide distribution in 490 stores and retail sales value of $10.9 million. Production started with just 1,000 litres per week, and has skyrocketed to an outstanding 45,000 litres of chocolate milk per week. Two more flavours, Fresh Coffee Milk and Fresh Vanilla Milk, have also been released.

Sales figures, however, do not tell the whole story, which is a truly fascinating one. If strategy was to generate cultural capital among chocolate-flavoured milk drinkers by stimulating a ‘must try’ desire, it worked more than ‘just fine’ — it became an impressive marketing case study, a phenomenon that blew everyone else away. No one could have predicted (and few will forget) the unprecedented hype, the insane amount of photos getting posted on social media, all those consumers queueing outside supermarkets, watched by security guards, just to bring a bottle home. The company even used Facebook to communicate out of stocks to customers, offering updates when the product was in store and which stores had stock.

Lewis Road Creamery changed the way Kiwis think about flavoured milk, and continues to innovate. With their finger on the pulse of new trends, they recently launched an artisanal bread, speciality butter and a premium range of ice cream with artisanal ingredients, including a special rosewater ice cream.

Each World Tour by SIAL country winner is now put forward into the global final, so it’s fingers crossed for Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk to see if they can take out the supreme award which will be announced at SIAL Paris in October.