Interview with Iris Behrens

On the subject: Alete/Humana (BU Baby)

Iris Behrens is Head of Global Marketing with the Business Unit Baby and is therefore the first person to ask in the DMK Group if you want to know more about parents’ wants and needs.

Ms Behrens, with what experiences did you start the year?

A lot was already done last year in the BU Baby to implement the Vision 2030. Actions included the successful acquisition and integration of the heritage brand Alete. For 2020, our intentions were to drive forward the repositioning of the brand. However, so much else happened – quite apart from Covid!

Did the pandemic cause problems?

First of all, the start of the coronavirus crisis meant a huge adjustment for us – as for the rest of the world. But even without the pandemic we had ambitious plans. We took a big step on the production side with the new factory in Strückhausen. In addition, we created an innovative website for Humana which helps parents with questions about their children's diet. We also successfully integrated Alete last year.

Is there something that you and your team are particularly proud of?

Definitely the relaunch of the Alete brand. We all put so much passion into it. The needs and wants of parents are important to us and we want them to be able to rely on the quality of Alete products. Clearly, naturally and transparently. We therefore took a close look at the ingredients in particular: less sugar, more organic products, no palm oil. All these things are quality features which also build trust in the brand. The relaunch needed a lot of time and attention, but we got there in September 2020. Despite the pandemic, we then launched 60 well-known articles and even seven new products on the market, with a new design and improved recipe. And we're really proud of that.


You’ve gone new ways this year with the Humana brand as well. How have the demands of today’s generations of parents changed?

We are focusing clearly on the digital natives, the new mothers and fathers of Generation Z. When dealing with parents born from 1995 onwards, we’re dealing with a target group which is educated, informed, digitally oriented, confident and in search of convincing, unique brands. We are therefore building confidence with the components “trust your gut”, “we're on your side” and “make space for the natural path of growth”. We launched a 360° communication campaign on this theme in September 2020 to meet the target group where it spends time – in the social channels. The launch is also supported by our new website. The site stands for purism, quality, fun and transparency with its new design, large images and a lot of white space. The user is not just passive, but interactively involved: With a major social media campaign through Facebook and Instagram, young mothers are requested to share their experiences with others – user generated content – authentic, transparent and close to mothers and fathers.

What advantages does this new brand architecture have?

Humana, Alete and Milasan give us strong brands which have enjoyed parents’ trust for decades. Alete for more than 85 years, Humana for 65 and Milasan for more than 50 years. That's more than 200 years of combined experience and knowledge, which is an asset of inestimable value in the hard-fought market for infant formulae and children’s food. With our brands’ realignment, we have now also integrated them much better. Humana focuses on milk formulae and food supplements. Alete, on the other hand, offers solid baby foods and snacks for toddlers up to kindergarten age. In future, the brands will accompany children from birth to well over the age of three. This diversity is an enormous competitive advantage for us.

One last question in conclusion: What was the most important insight you gained in 2020?

The way the whole team got these projects going despite the pandemic and created a clear trajectory for our brands is impressive. It shows me with every new day that passes what we can achieve as a unit.