It’s no secret that consumers want protein. Current research shows that protein-rich foods and beverages continue to be a growing trend, with no signs of slowing. In fact, nearly 60% of Americans consider protein when purchasing packaged foods and beverages, and most are trying to get more in their diet. Research suggests that 75% of grocery shoppers are already aware that protein contributes to a healthy diet. Other benefits include helping maintain a healthy weight, muscle building and satiety.

All that said, consumers are unaware of milk’s protein. And milk can surely deliver. It’s affordable, versatile and high-quality. Simply sharing the “new” news of milk’s protein could have huge potential to positively impact milk consumption, according to recent proprietary consumer research from MilkPEP.

Cross-merchandising opportunities

With versatility as a beverage pairing, ingredient and more, milk and chocolate milk represent a unique cross-merchandising opportunity. Recent research suggests that consumers are motivated by specific protein meal goals and suggestions for pairings to get to those recommendations. Among nearly 40 concepts, a protein-pairing message, such as pairing milk and eggs for 25 to 30 grams of protein, was among the highest-ranking in driving consumer demand. By focusing on meal solutions and protein pairings to reach the mealtime recommendations, processors can cross-merchandise on pack and in store, showcasing protein pairings to drive sales of several dairy products at once.

We know that milk, both white and chocolate, pairs perfectly with other protein foods, including dairy products, to help deliver protein Americans seek. And while getting protein in your diet is important, it’s the morning meal that is lacking the most, and where milk is perfectly positioned to deliver. Nutrition experts now recommend 25 to 30 grams of protein at every meal for best daily nutrition, yet many Americans typically get 13 grams at breakfast, on average. Based on this nutritional guideline, we know consumers will continue to look for ways to get more protein in the morning in particular. Moreover, our research shows “protein breakfast” is a trending search term with a high volume of searches within the breakfast category.

Promoting ‘My Morning Protein’

To capitalize on the growing protein trend, MilkPEP is investing millions into consumer campaigns that reinforce milk as a protein powerhouse to drive sales and consumption of milk. Specifically in 2016, we kicked off the new year with the launch of My Morning Protein, a new industry-wide campaign.  The campaign not only promotes milk’s high-quality protein, but also highlights how pairing a glass of milk with breakfast or a mid-morning snack is an easy, delicious way for consumers to get closer to the 25 to 30 grams of protein experts recommend in the morning.

In January, My Morning Protein utilized an integrated 360-degree approach consisting of national advertising, digital banners, key influencer partnerships, engaging social content and much more. The website features robust content to inspire consumers with this powerful protein message. The site also includes a new protein calculator which allows consumers to understand their protein needs and get ideas for how they can fill up their cup with milk to get closer to their morning protein goal.

We’ve already seen processors successfully take advantage of the My Morning Protein program to promote milk’s high-quality protein and their brand’s full dairy line, and we will continue to build on the momentum the program has already created with multiple ways processors can get involved year round.  Be sure to visit for the full My Morning Protein toolkit to activate for your brand.

Leverage this long-term strategy

My Morning Protein is a long-term opportunity for the entire industry. Processors can access recipes, ideas and customizable tools and materials — from retail POS to social content and more — to reinforce milk as a protein powerhouse and ultimately drive sales and consumption. There are multiple ways to leverage the campaign, including:

  • Leveraging protein messaging on pack to let consumers know at the point of purchase that milk is an affordable and versatile way to get high-quality protein.
  • Cross-merchandising across brand portfolios showcasing protein pairings with milk through a range of combinations such as cheese or yogurt, or partnering with other breakfast-centered brands with a focus on meal solutions and protein pairings to reach the mealtime recommendations.
  • Promoting real milk’s protein advantage at the dairy aisle with POS and on-label messaging that highlights the 8 grams of protein in each serving.
  • Utilizing MilkPEP content to highlight milk’s protein pair-ability with articles, recipes, infographics, photos, videos and more.
  • Tapping into local media and activating key influencers to amplify the protein message in local markets and brand channels.

For more consumer research, insights or information on the protein opportunity, or how to get involved, visit