WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Milk Processor Education Program says its "St. Louis School Milk Test" resulted in an average increase in milk sales of more than 12%.

Jointly sponsored by Prairie Farms, MilkPEP, and the St. Louis Dairy Council, the test involved about 165,000 students at almost 300 schools during the second half of this school year.

The test experimented with new multi-colored paperboard packaging, improved flavor formulations and new flavors to determine which products are most popular with children.

"The test confirmed our hypothesis that enhanced paperboard packaging and new and improved flavors can significantly increase school milk sales," says IDFA's Senior Marketing Manager Victor Zaborsky. "What was somewhat surprising was the huge increases in sales realized by schools that incorporated a number of marketing tactics to promote the new milk."

The best performing schools had increases of almost 35%. The quarter of participating schools in the "best performers" category utilized a number of variables to achieve success. The most common elements were displaying milk mustache celebrity posters and point-of-sale materials in the cafeteria, hosting sampling events and giving away prizes.

If applied nationally, the average results would translate into more than 600 million more unit sales of milk each year and 11 more units of milk for each student each year.