Annual fluid-milk consumption among kids has reached 28 gallons per capita in 2001 — the highest level in 10 years.

According to a recent beverage consumption report, more than 90 percent of all kids (ages 6 through 12) drank at least one serving of milk as a beverage during an average two-week period.

“This data reinforces that producer–funded checkoff marketing efforts in fluid milk are right on track,” said Donna Sharp, a South Dakota dairy producer and chair of the dairy checkoff committee that oversees fluid milk marketing.

“In the past few years, fluid milk program efforts have specifically targeted kids and their moms. This important audience is key to increasing fluid milk consumption long term,” said Sharp. Market research indicates that kids ages 6 to 12 represent 20 percent of the total milk beverage consumption.

The study shows that both white, and flavored milk consumption is growing. White milk consumption by kids increased to 24.1 gallons per capita in 2001 — an increase of 1.3 gallons from 2000 data. And, flavored milk increased to 3.6 gallons in 2001 — an increase of 0.5 gallons.

The study was conducted by the National Family Opinion’s WorldGroup, which monitors individual beverage consumption both at home and away from home through a national panel of 12,000 individuals per year. The study did not include non-beverage use of milk — such as milk with cereal, which accounts for nearly 25 percent of total fluid milk consumption among kids.

This study is good news for dairy producers. “This research helps confirm that if you give kids milk the way they want it, they’ll drink more,” said Steve Fauntleroy, vice president of milk marketing with Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff. Significant changes, such as more colorful packaging, plastic single-serve containers, more variety in milk flavors and more kid-focused promotions have helped drive the consumption increase.

“Dairy checkoff marketing efforts position milk as ‘hip’ and ‘cool’” said Fauntleroy. “We reinforce this message with specific advertising and promotion efforts targeting kids through TV and print advertising, retail and school cafeteria promotion, product publicity and special events. And we’re reaching moms with relevant programs that underscore milk’s role as a vital part of raising a healthy child.”

Dairy Management Inc.