New milk strategy merits look from grain-based foods
BakingBusiness.com, April 26, 2011
by Josh Sosland
In 2003, when Wirthlin Worldwide presented the grain-based foods industry market research that underpinned the formation of the Grain Foods Foundation, the strengths and weaknesses of the dairy industry’s Got Milk campaign to change consumer attitudes was central to the discussion.

With its checkoff funded advertising budget totaling about $70 million per year, the Milk Processors Education Program is a closely watched bellwether for many groups looking to boost consumption of their products. So grain-based foods should look with considerable interest at a new approach MilkPEP said it is adopting in an effort to renew growth in per capita consumption of fluid milk.

Based on a long-term plan developed in consultation with The Monitor Group, MilkPEP advertising will no longer be driven primarily by reaching out to specific demographic groups like teens, mothers and Hispanics. Instead, the milk industry will be looking at parts of the day and locations where milk consumption is light — in the evening and at work.

“Until now we had never seen these occasions as the primary lens for developing the strategies that would lead to more milk consumption,” Vivien Godfrey, executive director of MilkPEP, told Food Business News.

The plan also foresees milk processors partnering with manufacturers and marketers of complementary foods like coffee and cereals in order to promote innovation. The new approach for MilkPEP contains elements already familiar to the Grain Foods Foundation, with its sandwich night campaign in 2010. Still, the dairy plan, including the partnering component, offers an opportunity for strategic reflection as grain-based foods works to optimize its efforts.