Promote milk by the “occasion”

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Taco Bell has commercials reminding people that it is “open late,” thus appealing to the occasional desire that people have for another meal between dinner and the time they go to bed. Godiva Chocolates are for special occasions. And Snickers candy bars are a way to satisfy hunger between meals.

These are examples of occasion-based marketing. One expert suggests applying the same approach to fluid milk.

At the Dairy Forum meeting in January 2011, Steven Goldbach, partner at the Monitor research firm, outlined a marketing strategy developed from extensive consumer research.

“It’s about getting current milk-drinkers to consume more and to get those who don’t drink milk to try it,” he said.

It’s also about reversing a long downward slide in per-capita milk consumption.

Occasion-based marketing may be able to reverse this trend by focusing on certain times of the day or certain activities where consumers might be inclined to choose milk over other beverages.

For example:

· Breakfast is the meal where people are most likely to consume milk. It is an occasion that needs to be emphasized. Consumers need to hear about the importance of breakfast. And, it is also an opportunity for the dairy industry to partner with other breakfast food providers, such as cereal companies.

· After exercise, people can drink milk to rehydrate and replenish body reserves. In fact, research studies have shown milk to be a superior beverage in this regard.

· At night, between supper and the time people go to bed, they often like to indulge in a dessert item. Milk goes well with cake or cookies. And, perhaps there are “warm, frothy” beverages that people drink at night that aren’t necessarily milk, but contain milk as a constituent ingredient.

Goldbach pointed out that fluid milk consumption, on a per-capita basis, has declined for at least 30 years. In the past decade, it fell from approximately 22.5 gallons per person in 2000 to 20.6 gallons in 2009.

Over that same period of time, the average person’s total beverage consumption stayed the same, he said. It was 224 gallons per person in 2000 and 223 gallons in 2009

“So, to increase the volume of milk consumption, you have to get consumers to put another beverage down — it’s not about getting them to drink more,” he said.

Occasion-based marketing may provide a chance for milk to out-compete other beverages during certain times of the day or certain activities.

The study was commissioned by the Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPep.



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Doris Lohr    
Prairie du Sac, Wi. 53578  |  September, 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM

We contribute to the Milk Marketing Board. Get with it and put our dollars to good use!

David Avila    
Oakdale, California  |  June, 03, 2013 at 09:59 AM

I have been pointing this out for DECADES: when the industry offered "low fat" and "none fat" milk (ie. the processors wanted to maximize their profits by skimming off the cream) the FLAVOR of milk went with it. When I was young, we feed the skim milk to the hogs! The unintended consequences: young children of decades ago as well as today, do not attain a "taste" for milk because their parents have been indoctrinated to believe fat is bad and nonfat milk is forced fed to their children. Later in years, the now young adults do not drink milk. There is your answer to why milk consumption is diminishing.

Phil Laesch    
Wisconsin  |  June, 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM

It is high time the dairy industry wakes up. Just look at the Dairy case in the grocery store. You now have almond milk, coconut milk, soybean milk, ect. WHY??? People with poor gut bacteria health cannot digest pasteurized milk. Also we need some milk fat in the product for taste and nutrition for the brain, especially in young children. The ads will help but we also need to allow real [raw] milk sales to increase overall demand for dairy. Fermented dairy, yogurt and kefir are real healthful foods as long as we don't wreck them with high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. Milk is still nature's most perfect food and vitally important for all ages. It is time to promote healthy dairy for all.


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