Page 5: The product
Cow & Gate Next Steps is a thicker, richer, satisfying milk drink for when bottlefed babies begin to outgrow follow-on milks and need to progress. It can be used from six months as part of a weaning diet. It is specially formulated to be nutritionally suitable for growing babies and is better for them than cows’ milk because it is:
- higher in zinc, iron and vitamins A and D
- lower in protein to be more suited to a baby’s kidneys
- higher in essential fatty acids for growth and development
- has added selenium and beta-carotene (important anti-oxidants) to help protect body tissues.
A successful launch of any new product is only the starting point for a product’s continuing success. The product has to go on from there. Next Steps quickly established a new market segment known as toddler milks. This was highly encouraging to Cow & Gate because it demonstrated the worth of meticulous scientific research designed to meet an identified market need. However, 18 months of strong sales is not enough. It is also important to ensure the product’s long term success. This is best achieved by listening to customer requirements and then making ongoing improvements to the product or packaging in the light of these evaluations.
Once the product was up and running, Cow & Gate set up a series of focus groups as a form of qualitative market research to find out about customers’ perceptions of the product. These focus groups consisted of mothers who were using or who had used Cow & Gate Next Steps. They were encouraged to talk about how they used it and what they saw as its strengths and weaknesses. Their comments have enabled Cow & Gate to identify ways to improve the product still further.
Cow & Gate has also monitored the product’s success through the traditional method of analysing its market share, which is often the best indicator of consumer satisfaction. Results to date have been excellent! Next Steps has been well received by parents and is proving to be an invaluable addition to the options on offer to parents who choose to bottlefeed.