By Miranda Abney, Milk Processor Education Program

Think about all the decisions you make each day as an adult. From what you eat for breakfast to the route you drive to work or the yoga class you attend, these decisions are made in a matter of seconds or minutes, often fueled by your subconscious. It’s easy to forget that there was a time when someone else (likely Mom or Dad) was calling all the shots, when a school outfit had to pass inspection or breakfast was prepped by mom.

If you can think back to a time when you were a kid just finding your voice and making decisions – it was exhilarating. Even small moments like reaching into the refrigerator and choosing what to drink with breakfast or deciding what after-school activities to join were a big deal, and some of your early decisions likely had a lasting impact on your daily habits even today.

Watch MilkPEP’s new commercial for its Great American Milk Drive

Children start to make their own decisions at age 9 to 10

A recent MilkPEP study of 2,400 moms and 1,500 kids looked at when kids start to exercise decision-making about milk and identified a key inflection point, at ages 9-10. This is the point where we want to help kids make the important decision to choose milk. Reminding and empowering kids is key to helping us win with this crucial target. We’ll continue to talk to moms, but also communicate directly to the kids we know love to – and want to! – drink more milk every day.

Why the milk industry must win with kids

As we look ahead, one of our four long-term strategic priorities is to win with kids – and that’s because they represent the single largest volume loss for fluid milk over the last five years. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, more than 500 million gallons of milk were lost to declining consumption among kids 2 to 17. 

The good news is our research confirmed that kids truly love milk. They love the taste, and they love the way it makes them feel. The study found 41% of kids said they would drink more milk if they could. While MilkPEP’s campaigns have always worked to get moms to encourage their kids to drink more milk – and will continue to do so – moving forward, we must also talk directly to kids. We must stand for kids in all we do. A key way we’ll do this is through our new Milk It! Campaign, designed to remind milk’s #1 fans to choose milk more often.

Milk It! Is MilkPEP’s new milk campaign

The Milk It! campaign, launching this week, is bold, arresting and designed to connect with kids in an authentic way. We’re going to meet kids where they play – on YouTube, on the six major kid networks and on the ground at grassroots events – and support them as they make their daily decisions. We’re going to ensure that milk is a choice they feel great about making now, and as they continue to grow up – building lifelong milk drinkers.

In the coming months, you’ll see new TV advertising on kid-friendly channels like Nickelodeon, and campaign content on a Milk It! YouTube channel. Watch two examples here. We’re partnering with Scholastic to reach kids in school, we’re working with Kick It 3v3 Soccer Tournament, and we’re joining Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play to encourage kids to get out and play on September 16. All of these programs are built to spread a new message: “There’s awesome inside of every kid. All you gotta do is Milk It!”

Milk processors: 5 ideas for marketing to and engaging with children 

How can your brand make in-roads with kids now and in the future? Take a look at these five ideas:
1.    Explore weaving the kid audience into your existing marketing plans and approaches. Remember the sweet spot is 9-10 years of age.
2.    Activate on a grassroots level. Join MilkPEP on the Kick It tour or at local events in your community.
3.    Use Milk It! campaign assets to support the story locally. 
4.    Consider ways to reach kids in schools via kid-friendly packaging, posters and beyond.
5.    Develop kid-friendly products and packaging.

Check out the research on