Bravo! Foods International Corp., North Palm Beach, Fla., has become a leading milk beverage marketer through its commitment to product, package and brand development.

One of the company's key strategies is to secure licensing agreements with established food sector giants including Mars Inc., McLean,Va., to produce, market and sell Slammers® Milky Way® reduced-fat chocolate milk, Slammers 3 Musketeers® low-fat chocolate milk and four flavors of Slammers Starburst® fruit & crème smoothies. Bravo! Foods has an additional licensing agreement with Marvel Enterprises Inc., New York, to utilize its world-famous Super Heroes™ brands.

Bravo! Foods is also building its Slammers brand with non-licensed products including Pro Slammers flavored milk "slammed" with double shots of whey protein and Slim Slammers with half the fat, carbs and calories of other flavored milks.

Bravo! Foods' milk beverages are shelf-stable, which allows for unique merchandising and distribution efforts.

"Slammers is milk with an attitude," says Bravo! Foods CEO Roy Warren. "It combines all the goodness of Mother Nature's perfect food marketed with a unique, fun and edgy brand personality. By segmenting the market demographically and psychographically, Slammers is the first milk product positioned as a beverage rather than a commodity.

"Superior packaging and grass-roots marketing combine to create a consumer buzz in the marketplace. Consumer awareness leads to product trial, which leads to repeat purchase, which leads to brand loyalty," says Warren.

"Bravo! Foods' Slammers brand and the consumer loyalty it enjoys are among the company's most valuable assets. As distribution, consumer awareness and consumer loyalty grow, so will the value of this proprietary asset," continues Warren."We are focused on growing and protecting this long-term asset."

Most recently, Bravo! Foods entered into a licensing agreement with 7-Eleven® stores to offer on-the-go consumers Breakfast Blenders™. This line of fortified milks is designed to provide the nutritional benefits of a good breakfast, in a convenient, singleserve bottle form.

"The drinks are targeted to busy consumers who are seeking nutritious and great-tasting milk drinks for their active lifestyles," says Warren. "We're committed to offering new better-for-you products, and working with 7-Eleven allowed us to pinpoint consumer trends that led to the development of Breakfast Blenders, combining the needs of active consumers with our delicious milk drinks."

Bravo! Breakfast Blenders are 100% milk and a blend of breakfast fruits and flavors, and fortified with vitamins and minerals. They boast the added nutrition claims of being 100% lactose free, low in sugar and having 50% more protein. Chocolate Raspberry is fortified with antioxidants naturally found in raspberries and chocolate, while Vanilla Peach contains fiber found naturally in peaches, among the most fibrous of fruits. Double French Vanilla and Double Chocolate varieties are both rich in calcium.

"Our customer trends showed that the typical consumer is skipping breakfast due to their hurried schedules, while health research shows that breakfast is a very important meal," says Kurt Schumacher, category manager of dairy and ice cream products for 7-Eleven Inc,Dallas. "Customers are looking for convenient products that are nutritious and consumable on the go, and that led us to work with Bravo! Foods to develop the Breakfast Blenders products."

Dairy processors can learn a great deal from Bravo! Foods' approach to selling milk and milk's healthful halo. By investing in innovation, Bravo! Foods has given milk a new twist, making milk a convenient beverage for today's consumers' active lifestyles.