Everyone has heard about the research that shows flavored milks in bright-colored plastic milk bottles helps increase milk consumption in schools. But what would happen if you put the flavored milk in jazzed up paperboard cartons? The answer: Milk consumption in schools goes up.

A 300-school pilot study in St. Louis shows that enhanced carton packaging with colorful kid-friendly graphics combined with new milk flavors – strawberry, vanilla and chocolate – does indeed boost kids’ milk consumption. Results across the board for all 300 elementary, middle and high schools showed an average increase of 12.2 percent in kids’ milk consumption. However, consumption at the schools that participated in sampling programs and other awareness building activities (about 25 percent of the schools) grew by 34 percent. Milk consumption in the 120 control schools did not change during the time period studied.

 "Students in the St. Louis test chose milk because of the new graphics and packaging, but they kept drinking it because of the great taste and new flavors," said Tom Nagle, vice president of marketing for the International Dairy Foods Association. "These results show schools that they can help children make healthier beverage choices," said Nagle. "And milk processors across the country now have a template for success in their own markets."

The St. Louis test was conducted from January to June 2005 and was sponsored by local milk processor Prairie Farms, the Milk Processor Education Program and supported by the St. Louis Dairy Council. The results of this study were released earlier this week at the School Nutrition Association's 59th Annual National Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Milk Processor Education Program, Yahoo News