Teenagers Go for Milk of a Different Color

Jul 15, 2002

Milk drinking among American teenagers has increased for the first time in six years. The increase is being attributed to flavored milks, according to a new report by National Family Opinion’s Share of Intake Panel.

Soft drinks remain the leading beverage among teenagers aged 13-17, but the new research shows that U.S. teens are drinking more milk, while soft drink consumption is decreasing, reports NutraIngredients.com.

More than 100 new milk products have been introduced in the last year, according to data from Beverage Marketing. Flavored milk in single-serve containers available in ‘teen-friendly locations,’ such as vending machines and convenience stores, has driven much of the category’s growth, according to the report, based on research of 12,000 individuals. Marketing efforts – including teen idols wearing milk mustaches – have also helped milk gain acceptance among this status-conscious crowd.

“Teens are our most critical focus because we lose almost half of all milk drinkers between the ages of 12 and 24,” says Kurt Graetzer, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), creators of the Got milk?/Milk Mustache campaign. “We know that milk is continually outspent by competing beverages, but we’re beginning to break through with the teenage audience.”

The report noted that annual per capita milk consumption among U.S. teenagers in 2001 reached 22 gallons, a three-percent increase from 2000. Milk consumption by this age group has until now been on the decline for the last two decades. Among current teen milk drinkers, milk consumption rose six percent. With this rise in per capita teen milk consumption, milk’s share of the teen market has experienced an increase, from 23.4 percent in 2000 to 25.1 percent in 2001.

Moderator Comment: Will flavored milk products increase consumption in older consumer demographics in addition to teenagers?

It doesn’t come from a cow, but the coffee flavored soy milk we bought this weekend has been added to our regular shopping list after the initial sampling. Seems as though the same sentiment would hold true for similar fluid milk items. [George Anderson – Moderator]

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