NEW YORK -- The milk industry could soon experience a long-overdue boost in sales, as mergers, acquisitions, aggressive new packaging and other marketing programs open up new profit centers, according to a new 160-page study called "Milk in the U.S. -- 1998," by Beverage Marketing, here.
stache and 'got milk?' campaigns mounted by industry associations in the last few years have attracted attention, they have not succeeded in moving the needle, and per-capita consumption of fluid milk has, in fact, continued the slow decline begun back in 1955," said Michael Bellas, Beverage Marketing chairman and chief executive officer.
He said that producers can now reverse the trend with marketing efforts brought about by new products, and improved distribution resulting from merger and acquisition activity.
According to the report, the $25.5 billion fluid-milk industry remains regional and fragmented, with the top five companies accounting for only 25% of sales. But this may soon change as the top players, Dean Foods and Suiza Foods, continue to buy up dairies across the country.
In the case of Dean Foods, the study notes the phenomenal success of the company's single-serve, resealable milk chug, which "could become the platform for a national brand." As it now stands, branded milk products currently capture 36% of retail sales, while private-label captures 64%, according to the study.
In addition, the study reported that fat-free milk and flavored milk are two categories also in a growth curve. According to the latest data, fat-free products represent 17% of the total market and have increased every year, originally breaking 5% in 1980. Flavored milk is also doing well, with chocolate remaining the top choice, followed by strawberry, banana, vanilla, coffee and other fruit flavors.
In 1997, $6.39 billion gallons of milk were sold, a 0.5% decrease from $6.42 billion gallons in 1996, according to the study.