LAKELAND, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets here has added fat-free plus milk, fortified with vitamins and calcium, to its private-label fluid dairy line, and is packaging the new product in plastic gallon and half-gallon containers.
The new item got a send-off with a descriptive ad that ran the width of the bottom of a page in the chain's ad circular. It shows a photo of a gallon and a half-gallon container of "Publix Fat Free Plus Milk."
The ad is headlined, "Fat Free Plus Milk Packs a Powerful Punch," followed by text: "Publix Fat Free Plus Milk is our new and improved acidophilus milk, a powerful dietary source for your vitamin and mineral needs. Loaded with the anti-oxidant power of vitamins C and E, it's also a super source of bone-building calcium -- just two servings provide 100% of your daily requirement. Fat Free Plus Milk also contains the essential bifidium casei cultures that help digestion, so it's helpful if you're lactose-intolerant. Plus, it tastes so great you'd never know how good it is for you! Make Publix Fat Free Plus Milk a delicious part of your healthy diet."
The chain, which has 639 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, is obviously targeting a larger portion of its health-conscious customers.
"We've developed fat-free milk that offers a better taste and mouthfeel, and it has added vitamins A,C, D, E and calcium as well as acidophilus, bifidium and L. casei cultures," said Publix spokesman Lee Brunson in a statement when the product was introduced this summer.
"Two servings a day provide 100% of the recommended daily allowance for calcium and 50% of the RDA for vitamins C, D and E," he added.
Two of the cultures in the product -- bifidium and acidophilus -- are also found in yogurt, and are known to aid in the digestive breakdown of food.
One industry consultant, Jerry Dryer, president of Chicago-based J/D/G Consulting, called the retailer's addition to its fluid-dairy line positive.
"There's certainly a niche for nonfat milk and it's undoubtedly made up of the more health-conscious of the consumers," he said. "So fortifying it with all these vitamins and minerals and cultures is a real plus. I don't know of a national brand that has that particular combination of things."
Dryer pointed out that private label in dairy is extremely strong, making up at least half of milk sales and he called it a high gross-margin and high net-margin property that deserves the retailer's attention.
"I think it's significant, too, that Publix is packaging the [nonfat plus milk] in gallons and half gallons. It means they expect broad-based usage. Most of the brands that have a fortified nonfat milk offer it only in paper quarts. But gallons get set on the breakfast table for the whole family. Publix is apparently optimistic, anticipating big-time sales," Dryer said.