FEATURE6 September 2018

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Europe FMCG Features Impact Retail

Finnish dairy company Valio wanted to relaunch its butter under a new brand for international markets, and turned to semiotics to find out what concepts would resonate best with consumers. By Katie McQuater.

Valio butter_crop

The butter category is historically quite flat, with little in the way of differentiation or innovation. That has started to change in recent years, however, as marketers latch onto concepts around authenticity, purity and taste in their branding. 

For Finnish dairy cooperative Valio, a Russian ban on imported milk products in 2014 – which widely affected the dairy industry in Europe – led to an opportunity. The company had been producing butter for more than 100 years, but now that its dairies were producing too much milk, it decided to expand internationally. 

“We started thinking about how we could distinguish our butter from other brands – because butter is pretty much the same around the world; there’s a very clear and strict definition of what it can be, ” says Kevin Deegan, consumer insight manager at Valio.

The company needed to establish a point of difference for the brand, and it realised it was sitting on an ...