Sales of milk in high school vending machines are good, and appear to be creating quite a stir in some of the nation’s high schools.

The colorful $1 bottle of chocolate, strawberry and coffee-flavored milk seems to be the drink of choice for many high school students in California – in some cases, outselling soda.

“It’s been a huge success here,” says Frank Becker, athletic director of California’s Villa Park High School.

Granada Hills High in Los Angeles, Calif., also continually sees a demand for the milk, especially the chocolate- and coffee-flavored variations.

“These machines appear to be very popular in the high schools,” says David Pelzer, vice president of industry relations for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), a producer checkoff-funded promotional organization. DMI is monitoring the progress of 100 milk vending machines throughout the country. “We will not have the final results of our trial until mid-June, but preliminary results show the machines are exceeding expectations,” Pelzer adds.

Seattle-based schools are also conducting a trial in which they team up with WestFarm Foods, the processing and marketing cooperative of Washington’s Northwest Dairy Association. WestFarm sponsored free flavored and regular milk in its single-serve containers for two weeks, to see if the students would be interested in having the vending machines or the milk as part of their breakfast program. The overwhelming response to the milk was positive, and, in a survey, students said they would be willing to pay up to $1.25 for the containers.

So, what does all this mean for the industry, and the schools involved?

“I think these vending machines will be part of a solution for getting milk sales up in schools,” Pelzer said. “The flavored milk is really catching on.”