Market leader Muller has achieved considerable success with its Muller Corners yoghurt range and is now seeking to develop the category further. The tie-up with McVities highlights the potential gains to be made when packaged goods players partake in joint ventures, especially with maturing brands in saturating markets. 

Muller's partnership with United Biscuits brand McVities will focus on an extension of its Corner range, which is currently worth an estimated £174m (US$321.5m). Muller McVities Corners will feature Penguin biscuits, Jaffa Cakes and McVities Milk Chocolate Digestives.

Muller is hoping the new variants will appeal to a broad range of demographic consumer groups. The Muller Corner line is targeted towards families, but the company anticipates that the Penguin and Jaffa Cake variants will appeal to younger consumers, while older consumers will prefer the Digestive version.

It is expected that the venture will be supported by significant marketing investment via press campaigns, continuing television exposure for the Corner range as well as in-store marketing activity.

The UK yoghurt market is dominated by Muller, which generated sales of over £260m in the UK during 2002. Muller controls almost a third of the set yoghurt sector. As the firmly established market leader, Muller has been seeking to maintain its position and reach new segments with a series of innovations and ventures over the last two years.

The company's sales are being driven by the successful launch of Muller Corners with Kellogg 's cereals, as well as Muller's continued development of market share in the healthy yoghurt sector, and most recently in the premium sector, with the introduction of the Mediterranean inspired Amore range in 2003.

Only last month the company announced that it was extending its portfolio with the launch of a squeezable brand, a product format introduced by various manufacturers in the US that has proved highly successful with on-the-go younger consumers.

Through a number of joint ventures, packaged goods players are capitalising on and creating new market opportunities for existing and new brands. This strategic approach from Muller firmly sends out the message to competitors that, in the face of increasing saturation, it intends to continually innovate and seek new ways of bringing excitement to the category.

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