WASHINGTON -- Teen milk consumption has gone up for the second year in a row in a trend dairy industry officials attribute to teen-oriented marketing projects reaching their target.
Per-capita consumption of milk by teens rose from 22 gallons in 2001 to 23.5 gallons in 2002, according to NFO WorldGroup's Share of Intake Panel data. Milk has also gained in "share of stomach" among teens, meaning teens are choosing milk over other beverages more frequently. In 2001, milk's share of stomach grew from 23.4% to 25.1%. The following year, milk's share went up again, to 26%, according to the research.
Teenagers are a desirable segment for targeted milk marketing, a spokeswoman for the International Dairy Foods Association told SN. For one thing, milk marketers can thank teens for much of the recent growth in the flavored and single-serve milk product categories. Furthermore, it's clearly in the industry's best interest to focus attention on instilling purchase patterns as early as possible.
Long-range statistics typically show a falloff in milk consumption once children reach their teen years and discover new beverage choices, the spokeswoman said. Marketers are trying to reverse that trend.
"Teens are a very important audience," said Katie Koppenhoefer, spokeswoman for the IDFA. "As more and more products come to market, hopefully they'll like them and keep buying them."
In analyzing the consumption boost, officials pointed to the Milk Processor Education Program's efforts to reach teens with positive messages about milk. MilkPEP is funded by the nation's milk processors, and Washington-based IDFA is contracted by MilkPEP to administer processor-funded programming.
In 2000, MilkPEP officials decided to concentrate the funds of the National Milk Mustache "got milk?" campaign on specific areas that provided the best opportunity to boost milk sales. The Shake Stuff Up Milk Mustache Mobile tour, NBA "got milk?" Rookie of the Year program, and Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year contest were developed to teach teens about the importance of milk in their diets, to position the beverage as cool, and encourage trial of new milk flavors.
The MilkPEP campaign also created print advertisements featuring teen celebrities, including hip-hop artist Nelly, singer and actress Mandy Moore, and extreme skateboarder Bob Burnquist to promote the health benefits of drinking milk. The ads appeared in teen magazines such as Seventeen and Teen People. New TV commercials also began airing on popular teen networks like MTV and The WB.
The research also showed:
When compared to soft-drink consumption, teens that drink milk get 34.6% of their beverage consumption from soft drinks, and 29.7% from milk. However, for non-milk drinking teens, soft drinks account for 54.8% of their total beverage consumption.
There's a gender gap. Teen boys continue to drink milk as they get older, consuming more milk than girls, in fact, and not switching to other beverages. Girls also continue to drink milk as they get older, but not as much as boys.