Available in Momo Honnori (Subtle Peach) and Ringo Honnori (Subtle Apple) variations, 500ml cartons of Meiji New Style Milk boast the fragrance of fresh apples and peaches but without the taste of either.
The products, launched in Japan in July 2014, are, according to Datamonitor, targeted at health-conscious consumers who dislike the smell of milk but don’t necessarily want to consume flavoured milks, which are typically deemed less healthy.
Listing it among its Innovation Highlights, Datamonitor said Meiji's New Style Milk is "indeed a new type of milk."
Japanese milk consumption has been in decline for a number of years, particularly among Japan’s aging population.
Commenting, Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director, Datamonitor, said New Style Milk could help lure consumers back.
“Milk consumption has been falling for Japan for years as the population has aged, and fluid milk producers there have been hard pressed to turn around sales for a product often viewed as a kids’ beverage,” said Vierhile.
“The sense of smell is tightly entwined with the sense of taste, and altering the smell of milk to make it more pleasing to consumers who may be repelled by the normal smell of milk is a novel approach that may succeed in bringing new consumers – children and adults – to the fluid milk market.”
In 2013, the Japanese drinking milk products was valued by Euromonitor at US$7.77bn (€6.12bn) - down from US$7.79bn (€6.13bn) in 2012.
The category is, however, emerging from this period of decline, according to Euromonitor.
It has forecasted that Japanese sales of drinking milk products will increase to US$7.95bn (€6.26bn) in 2014 – up 0.7% on 2013.
By 2019, Euromonitor expects this figure to have increased to US$8.18bn (€6.44bn).
Meiji, Japan’s largest dairy processor, claims to currently control around 22% of the Japanese milk market.
Despite struggles in the drinking milk market, the Japanese dairy sector has experienced consistent growth in recent years.
In 2013, retail dairy sales totalled US$20.96bn (€16.5bn). Euromonitor expect this figure to increase to US$21.54bn (€16.96bn) in 2014, driven in large by demand for cheese and yogurt in the country.