Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dairy On The Go Vs The Competition

There was an interesting piece from Tom Gallagher in Hoard's Dairyman on the decline of milk sales over the last 30 years and how to change it. One of the quotes that jumped out at me was this one:
Away from home meal consumption stands at 30 percent, compared to just 16 percent in the late 1970s. Additionally, 48 percent of consumers' food expenditures are now spent on food away from home.
--Tom Gallagher, CEO of DMI., from We must work together to fix fluid milk  Hoard's Dairyman December 2012 
I knew anecdotally that people ate out more today, but I had not read any statistics on it. Also I wonder about a link between the 48% of food sales away from home and obesity. I know when I eat on the go rarely do I eat as healthy as I might at home. If I'm traveling by myself then I often eat cheaply in a frugal manner.

Dairy products in the marketplace purchased on the go are lacking compared to other options. For example, you're driving home and decide to stop for a quick snack. Most fast food places have ice cream or milkshakes as a dessert item, but how often can you choose from yogurt, cheese, or plain milk for a snack? I more often stop at gas stations to grab a bite. The dairy cooler is usually limited to gallons or half gallons of milk and a few flavors of one size single servings.

gas station milk
Dairy Cooler at a Gas Station:  1/2 of one door
Pepsi, Coke, and the juice makers have all kinds of selections. How much do you want to drink? They have sizes from less than 12 oz, to 12 oz, 20 oz, and even bigger single servings. (Of course, if you drink the larger sizes it won't be long before you have to stop again!) Then you have all kinds of flavors to choose from and within those you can choose on calorie and caffeine content. So they have oodles and oodles of selections versus dairy's white, chocolate, or strawberry offerings.

It is no wonder that consumers walk past the plain milk cooler. Obviously, some stores offer more dairy options such as ice cream and mix your own milkshake machines, but even with those it still doesn't compare to the alternatives.

My friend, Randy, disagrees with me on this as far as grocery stores go. He points out that you can buy most any size of milk you want in different flavors, fat content, and production methods. He says that the high quality of milk as a product should sell itself and maybe consumers only need a reminder of all the good it has.

What would make you excited about a dairy purchase on the go? What makes you choose a coke and a candy bar over a milkshake?

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