America’s dairy producers, through their checkoff investment, are teaming up with SONIC, America’s Drive-In® to introduce new milk offerings at the chain. Starting in September, SONIC will offer low-fat white and chocolate milk in resealable, 8-ounce plastic bottles.

The bottle label will include the 3-A-Day™ of Dairy logo, which is part of a producer-funded integrated nutrition-based marketing and education program that aims to remind the public of the need to consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day. The single-serve milk jug is a new menu item for the chain and also can be ordered as a beverage option with SONIC’s Wacky Pack® Kids’ Meal at no additional charge.

“The new milk offerings at SONIC are great news for the nation’s 60,000-plus dairy producers,” said Paul Rovey, an Arizona dairy producer and chairman of Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program. “Research shows us that the public wants milk products in a variety of flavors and packaging options.”

A year-long study involving more than 100,000 elementary and secondary students found that children consumed more milk when it was offered cold, in plastic bottles and available in a variety of flavors. Additionally, sales of single-serve milk in SONIC test markets indicated the potential demand for the product.

“The introduction of these new milk offerings at SONIC shows how dairy promotion efforts are helping the public achieve three servings of dairy per day,” said Tom Gallagher, DMI chief executive officer. “We must offer our customers the dairy products they want, and when and where they want them if we want to increase milk consumption.”

The introduction of milk in plastic, resealable bottles at SONIC brings the total number of quick-serve restaurants offering milk to more than 35,000 nationwide. “The new packaging and flavors offer families added appeal to a beverage that families already enjoy,” Gallagher said.

In addition to the plastic bottle, milk’s nutrient package also appeals to parents. Low-fat milk counts as one dairy serving of the government-recommended three servings a day and also delivers nine essential nutrients to help build stronger bones and healthy bodies.

“It’s important to SONIC that we offer our customers a variety of beverage choices. The new single-serve milks are a great addition to our menu and Wacky Pack Kids’ Meals,” said Todd Townsend, chief marketing officer for Sonic Industries, Inc. “White and chocolate milk appeals to the entire family because it tastes good and the bottles are easy to grab-and-go.”

To help increase awareness among the public, national, state and regional dairy promotion groups are working to spread the word of the new milk offerings through:

  • Media relations efforts with local broadcast and print consumer media.
  • Online promotions at the producer-funded www.3aday.org site, including a SONIC gift card sweepstakes giveaway, and an e-blast to “Get 3!” e-newsletter subscribers.

SONIC, in turn, is marketing the new milk through drive-in signs and other merchandising, online support at www.sonicdrivein.com and public relations support that communicates milk as a beverage option.

For more information about dairy promotion efforts, visit www.dairycheckoff.com.

Dairy Management Inc.