Q&A: Helping Milk Compete Calls For A Single-Serve Approach

August 1, 2005
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Q: What does research tell us about single-serve milk in plastic bottles?

A: Kids of all ages choose milk more often when it's offered refreshingly cold in single-serve plastic bottles and in a variety of flavors, according to the School Milk Pilot Project, a study that involved 146 schools and 100,000 children across the country during the 2001-2002 school year. When schools took these steps to make milk more appealing and "cool" for kids, milk sales increased 15% in elementary schools and 22% in secondary schools. Today, more than 1,500 schools are participating in the "New Look of School Milk" program to implement the pilot project's findings and enjoy sustainable sales increases. For instance, three school districts tracked after the original study experienced milk sales growth of 13% to 34% year-over-year for three years.

Q: Why should processors start offering single-serve milk in plastic bottles?

A: If we look at the research, we see that people who don't enjoy milk as adults stopped drinking milk at about age 12. For each person who stops drinking milk, the dairy industry loses the opportunity for that person to consume 1,000 gallons of milk over his or her lifetime. It is absolutely critical to give kids great-tasting, ice-cold milk with the "wow" factor in plastic packaging to compete with their other beverage choices.

Q: Are many processors coming out with single-serves or just a few?

A: Processors across the country are making the investment in packaging, labeling and product improvements. Nationwide, processors have more than 400 milk and milk-based products in 8-oz, 13.5-oz and 16-oz sizes on the market. This figure keeps growing as processors realize it is the wave of the future.

Q: Outside of schools, where are plastic single-serves successful?

A: Milk was one of the fastest-growing beverages in foodservice last year, driven largely by the introduction of milk in single-serve plastic bottles. McDonald's® added 8-oz Milk Jugs with low-fat white and chocolate milk to its Happy Meal® choices, while Wendy's® made reduced-fat white milk and low-fat chocolate milk

in handy grab-and-go bottles an option in its Kids' Meals.

Q: How can DMI help processors move into this area?

A: We've got experts to help processors develop new flavors, choose and implement packaging changes, conduct consumer testing and scale up for production. All a processor needs to do is call our Dairy Technical Support Hotline at

800/248-8829 to get started.

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