To combat the declining rate at which Americans are drinking milk, Dean Foods Co. developed and is marketing sporty, portable, resealable plastic bottles of milk called Milk Chugs.
``Before Milk Chugs, on-the-go consumers would have a hard time fitting milk into their diet on a daily basis,'' said Dean Food Chairman Howard Dean in a news release. ``Previously, packaging was such that people didn't think of milk as an all-day, all-occasion beverage. Finally, we have a milk bottle that fits the way people live.''
Despite the ``Got Milk?'' and the milk mustache advertising campaigns, the industry is facing 20 years of decreasing milk consumption, said Sylvia Oriatti, director of marketing for Dean's dairy division.
``There was no package in small sizes,'' Oriatti added. ``And there is the perception that milk is not a cool beverage.''
The concept and design were developed by Dean over a two-year period. Milk Chugs, which have been test marketed under the Mayfield Dairy Farms name, have been in the eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia markets for about two years. By May, the milk-to-go packaging should be available throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest.
The high density polyethylene bottles come in quarts, pints and 8 ounce multipacks. Within the first year of market tests, Milk Chugs were responsible for sales increases of 96 percent in chocolate pints and 77 percent in overall pints. The whole line of Dean milk products are available in the Chug packaging.
Company officials would not disclose the molder of the caps and bottles.
The Franklin Park, Ill.-based company employs about 12,000 and has annual sales of more than $3 billion.