Research shows that kids have preferences when it comes to choosing a beverage. A recent School Milk Package Preference survey conducted on behalf of the National Dairy Council® (NDC) showed that when asked about drink choices at school, 51% of those surveyed said that they would choose milk over other beverage options when milk was presented in a plastic bottle. When milk was presented in a paper carton, only 24% of the students said they would choose milk over the other options.
The study, which was conducted with a total of 308 children (50% male, 50% female) in grades 4 through 12 (ages nine to 18 years), involved showing the children two samples of school milk. It was the exact same flavor, fat level and brand of milk. Even the graphics were the same. The only difference was the container: paper carton vs. plastic bottle.
The research took place in four markets, using the local brand of school milk. The study was designed to explore how this influential group of consumers rates milk in plastic and paperboard containers on various attributes. And the kids had a great deal to say.
Students described the milk in plastic bottles as cool, trendy, stylish, new and fun to drink. They described the paperboard carton as old fashioned. (For more results, see chalkboard.)
"Offering milk in plastic bottles at school will make milk more competitive with other beverages, boost student consumption and improve the image of milk among generations of young people," says Jose Cubillos, v.p., brand development, Dairy Management Inc™. "When kids choose your milk now, your brand is in front of them. You are building brand awareness and developing a loyalty with tomorrow's heads of households."
Indeed, students have shown a clear preference for milk in plastic bottles over milk in paperboard containers. However, paper cartons are still the predominant form of fluid milk packaging in schools.
"It's exciting to know that when milk is served cold in plastic containers and in a variety of flavors, kids drink more of the milk they need to stay healthy and strong," says Rick Naczi, v.p., school channel marketing, NDC. "We've ‘learned' that more milk will be consumed in this important foodservice venue when the right package is offered."
For more information on how to make the switch to plastic, contact the DMI Dairy Technical Support Hotline at 800/248-8829.
(n = 308 children in grades 4 through 12, in four markets)
Source: June 2005 survey conducted by Peryam & Kroll