Taking Probiotics to New Markets: The Gefilus Go-To-Market Strategy

Before Valio launched its Valio Gefilus® probiotics product range in a new market, it conducted extensive data and customer research.

Launching a product at Valio comes only after extensive research, using expert know-how and looking at a surprising range of data to figure out the product story, market awareness, how consumers perceive food from Finland, and even what the packaging is ‘saying’!

“We have to understand the way the world is moving, the driv­ers and motives behind choice and purchase, examining and utilising both local trends and global mega­-trends,” explains Consumer Insight Manager Dr. Kevin Deegan.

Smart data drives research

“What we’ve been actively and systematically doing a lot more is have data drive our decision-making process; Smart Data,” says Deegan. “The aim is to consolidate all the data we have in-house or from ex­ternal sources, and try and figure out why certain consumer phenom­ena are happening.”

Dr. Kevin Deegan and his team have been studying the UK market for more than a year, with a view to introducing Valio Gefilus® products that are based on the world’s most researched probiotic bacterium, LGG®.

The scientifically tested probiotic bacterium, LGG®

One of the first things Valio researchers found in their UK market studies was that consumers want products that are natural, believable and trustworthy.

“From our Gefilus consumer research, we found there was a real lack of trust in the live bacteria product offering,” says Deegan.

That lack of trust, he explains, stems from research that got widespread atten­tion in the UK where the effective­ness of gut health drinks on the UK market was called into question.

“The Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria, LGG® in Valio Gefilus® is the world’s most studied lactic acid bacteria,” says Kevin Deegan. “This probiotic bacterium has been shown in scientific studies to not only survive stomach acid, but to attach itself to the lining of the gut to form a pro­tective layer.”

“With LGG we can offer a level of scientifically-backed effi­cacy,” Kevin Deegan adds about the basis of LGG’s health benefits.

Kefir – a gut-friendly superfood

Next, Gefilus will launch in the UK with Kefir, which is considered by those in the know as a gut-friendly superfood, Deegan tells.

In the case of introducing Gefilus products to the UK, Valio’s research teams have had to think about how to communicate its scientifically-verified properties and health benefits to consumers. And that’s where “brand Finland” has been a bonus. People in the UK associate Finland with technology and innovation; and strong social values like health care, education and equality.

“All these abstract understand­ings about Finland help us reinforce an extra layer of trust in Valio prod­ucts like Gefilus,” says Deegan. “It’s a positive thing that something so ‘technological’ comes from Finland.”