The intuition of innovation.

Have some balls. It can get you a long way. Coca-Cola show how it’s done.

So, Coca-Cola has taken the brave foray into the milk market – a highly commoditised market where margins are thinner than a Rizla paper. It’s done so at a time when milk consumption is falling, much the same as its soft drinks business – even diet soft drinks are in decline.

It’s Fairlife product isn’t just milk though. It seems the answer to the question, “what’s the price of milk?” will no longer be a single one. They want to charge twice as much as a regular pint. In parting with your hard-earned cash you get:
– Half the sugars of regular milk
– 50% more protein
– 30% more calcium*
– Lactose free milk

It’s all achieved with a proprietary milk filtering process that concentrates the natural protein and calcium and filters out the sugars.

Whilst clearly differentiated, it’s a brave move in such a fiercely competitive market.

You can guess some of the likely comments from consumers in a qualitative research group about this product…
Consumer response typically pushes back on processed, unnatural sounding products. And anything other than pasteurising is considered ‘messing about’ with milk – it’s about as natural as they come.

Also, brands with negative perceptions are typically met with cynicism and dubiousness in research. Consumers are wary of them when their trust isn’t 100% – ‘they must be doing something wrong’. I question whether the Coke brand or the product holds the negative perception – I imagine it’s more of the latter but there’s enough bad news about sugar, sweeteners and what soft drinks do to your teeth to assume Coca-Cola could suffer push-back in this case.

So I take my hat off to the team who pushed this idea through the business despite likely lack of support and cynicism from typical consumer research groups. It takes balls to back an idea without research data to back up your argument but sometimes innovation has to be about what feels intuitively right, not just what the data says.

Back your gut, trust your intuition.


Will Rees-Hooper