By Mark Farmer, Southeast United Dairy Industry Association

Milk is in 91% of all U.S. homes, yet half of the protein-craving consumers don’t realize that milk is a good source of protein. Imagine the effect on dairy consumption if we reinforce milk’s protein message to consumers over 55 times a month. The potential is huge. It’s time for processors to tap into the power of the milk cap.

Consumers want protein; milk is a good source

Right now, milk’s protein message is the most important message we should be sharing with consumers. Consumers seek more protein in their diets and companies strive to fill that demand by adding protein to their product offerings. Look at the options in the cereal aisles and with breakfast bars. It seems every week a new product is introduced featuring protein. In fact, almost 60% of Americans consider protein when purchasing packaged foods and beverages, and the majority are trying to get more protein in their diet.

Milk is uniquely positioned to meet this protein demand as it naturally contains 8 grams of protein per serving. The biggest problem is that only half of consumers realize that milk is a good source of high-quality protein. In a recent MilkPEP study, 53% of respondents said milk’s protein content was new information. If more consumers were aware of milk’s protein content, then we would sell more milk.

Share milk’s protein message on bottle caps

What’s the best way to educate consumers to get the word out to consumers? Tap into the power of the cap. In November of 2013, MilkPEP conducted a packaging research test with white milk to determine the right message and location to promote milk’s protein message on the gallon jug. The research concluded that “8g of high-quality protein” on the cap is the most impactful package modification processors can make to stimulate purchase (in store) and consumption (at home). The research further concluded that on-cap messaging is the on-package location that consumers will encounter most often-- 3.4 times per month in retail and 55.6 times per month at home.

In terms of reach, nearly 91% of U.S. households purchase fluid milk and half of those households are unaware of milk’s protein content. With an opportunity for its primary message to be seen over 55 times a month within those households, the number of consumers seeing this message is enormous. Why aren’t more processors taking advantage of this opportunity?

Seize the opportunity to promote milk’s protein

Although there are added costs to the adding this message to the cap, and some processors who bottle milk for other companies don’t want to add an additional expense for the cap, benefits for the industry far outweigh the minimal added costs. The rising tide raises all ships. Let’s seize the opportunity to bring milk’s protein message to homes throughout the United States. It’s time for processors to tap into the cap. 

Mark Farmer is the director of marketing and partner relations for the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. He develops marketing programs with dairy processors, retailers and other industry partners throughout the Southeast. He can be reached at mfarmer[at]sedairy[dot]org.