Innovation willingness isn’t frozen in the chilled dairy snack category

By: Szalai László Date: 2024. 03. 07. 12:03

There is good news and bad news for the chilled dairy snack category (chilled milk bars and cottage cheese based desserts): there has been a double-digit decline in volume sales over the past year due to high prices, but the segment is still dominated by branded products.

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/2-3

Customers stick to their brands that continue to innovate: four out of five products sold are manufacturers’ brands

Gabriella Németh
senior channel &
category specialist
FrieslandCampina Hungária

“The double-digit category growth in value sales is driven by both sub-segments, with milk bars up 18% year-on-year and túró rudis growing by 11%”, says Gabriella Németh, senior channel and category specialist at FrieslandCampina Hungária Zrt.


Brigitta Fekete
brand manager

“Consumers have welcomed Milli no added sugar products and thematic innovations with special flavours and colours (Milli Kanalazoo, Milli Rémtúró), and the brand has retained its leading position”, informs Brigitta Fekete, brand manager at FrieslandCampina Hungária Zrt.




There is a shift of purchases towards larger pack sizes in the Túró Rudi segment

New products without added sugar

FrieslandCampina has successfully expanded its product range despite a difficult year. Rudikornis Túró Rudi with raspberry and pomegranate immediately became very popular, and the 0% added sugar portfolio of the Pöttyös brand has also grown: with the brownie flavour Pöttyös Túró Rudi, and the light and airy milk biscuit flavour Tejsüti. The Milli product line will come out with several new innovations in the first half of 2024. Here as well the 0% added sugar portfolio will welcome a popular Hungarian pastry flavour: Milli’s sour cherry and poppy seed strudel flavour Krémtúró. Plus two new limited edition cottage cheese cream Krémtúró products will be launched in the first quarter: pineapple-coconut and caramel-pear.


Túró Rudi dipped in real chocolate

Anita Spitzmüller
brand manager

“2023 was a challenging year for the chilled milk bar and cottage cheese based dessert market: the big shelf price increase had an impact on sales. The discount supermarket channel continues to play an important role in terms of sales, and we can see that private label products are gaining ground in the market”, recalls Anita Spitzmüller, brand manager of Sole-Mizo Zrt.

Some of the company’s most successful products in the túró rudi segment are the real chocolate variants. Within these the duo pack is especially popular.

Mizo Túró Rudi can be bought in milk chocolate and dark chocolate coating, and has also been available in limited edition flavours, e.g. the coconut real chocolate Mizo Túró Rudi last summer.




For the time being, pure products have been dominating, but flavours are also growing dynamically

Dairy-free indulgence

Plant-based alternatives to milk are also getting stronger in this category. For example Naszálytej Zrt. offers organic, lactose-free and soy-based tofu products in addition to the essential dairy products.

Katalin Péter
head of sales and marketing

“Our lactose-free dairy products target lactose-sensitive consumers, while our tofu products concentrate on lactose- and milk protein-sensitive people and vegan consumers”, says Katalin Péter, head of sales and marketing at Naszálytej Zrt.

She told that their top innovation is a tofu-based vegan dessert range, launched under the Toffini brand. The development work was very fast and successful, and the lemon VEGAN dessert quickly became popular in the market, so soon the company launched three new flavours.

Sponsored illustration

New image and portfolio expansion

Fino-Food launched its Fino Vegajó vegan product range with 5 products 3 years ago.

Szommer Gábor Fino Food

Gábor Szommer

“In the autumn of 2023 we added 5 more products to the Fino Vegajó range, 3 of which are plant-based desserts, as an alternative for those who don’t eat dairy products”, informs Gábor Szommer, commercial director of Fino-Food Kft.

The Vegan bar belongs to the Fino Vegajó product family, and it is a niche, delicious and easy-to-eat crunchy dipped dessert bar, with a light taste that will quickly find its way into the hearts of those following a plant-based diet, and those hungry for something new.

The company’s creamy desserts are available in apricot-sea buckthorn and blackberry-purple chokeberry flavour combinations, with a fruity taste and creamy texture. Prior to the launch of the new products, the Fino Vegajó brand underwent a major overhaul. //



Factors such as health and environmental awareness heavily drive innovations in this market, too



Unbeatable branded milk bars

In the period between December 2022 and November 2023, the chilled dairy snack category produced nearly HUF 66bn sales, which was a 14% increase compared to the same period a year earlier.

Guest writer:
Veronika Mikesy
analytic insights

In contrast, last year’s volume sales of 13,000 tonnes represent a 13% drop compared to the previous period. The average price level for the category climbed from HUF 3,900 to 5,000 per kilogram. Branded products accounted for 85% of total value sales and 73% of volume sales.

Cottage cheese desserts were responsible for 61% of chilled dairy snack value sales. The category is dominated by manufacturer products with a 79% value share and a 64% volume share. With an average price of HUF 5,700 /kg, branded products significantly exceeded the price level of private labels, which was HUF 2,700 /kg. The average price of manufacturer brands was 37% higher compared to the previous year, while private label products saw a smaller increase of only 33%.

Milk bars make up for the smaller share of the category (39% in value and 31% in volume). With value sales at HUF 26bn, the segment expanded by 17% between December 2022 and November 2023, more than the growth of the category as a whole. The most popular flavours are dairy cream and caramel, which together account for three quarters of milk bar sales by volume and four fifths by value. Branded products make up 94% of the milk bar market in value and 89% in volume. //


Chilled snacks: closing the gap

The gap is gradually closing between the two big segments of the chilled snacks category, chilled milk bars and túró rudi products. There is a large buyer base for chilled snacks (milk bars, túró rudis): in the 12 months up to November 2023, 87% of Hungarian households bought this category at least once.

Bakonyi-Kovács Kriszta - GfK

Guest writer:
Krisztina Bakonyi-Kovács
senior product consultant
Consumer Panel Services

In 2023 the customer base for chilled milk bars increased more significantly – 63% of households purchased them in 2022, rising to 66% a year later – while there was no increase for túró rudi, which moved from 80% to 79%.

Although the average price of chilled milk bars is still higher in absolute terms than that of the túró rudi segment, this difference has decreased from +54% to +26% over the last two years. The different trends in development have also been influenced by the closing of the price gap between the two segments. While the average price of milk bars has increased by 7% and 21% over the last two years, the average price of túró rudis has grown by 21% and 31%, respectively.

Who are the buyer? For both chilled snacks and chilled desserts, the penetration of the two product categories is higher among younger people and families. The role of traditional retailers is relatively small within the chilled snack category, with only 13% of the volume purchased by households coming from convenience stores in 2023. In contrast, the weight of the discounter channel is increasing step by step: back in 2021 45% of volume sales were realised in the channel, but this share rose to to 51% in 2023. //

Related news