Consumer Insights and Milk

I just read where the National Milk Producers Federation has asked the FDA to crackdown on the misuse of dairy terminology for “products not flowing directly from a teat.”

Apparently almond, soy, hemp and coconut milk now account for 10% of total milk sales and are growing 20% annually. This growth is off a very small base.

First, I don’t see how the National Milk Producers can “own” a category name when brand names like Aspirin, Band-Aid, Cellophane, E-Mail, Escalator, Kleenex, Q-Tips and Scotch Tape can not be protected.

Besides, the second definition of “milk” in Merriam-Webster is, “a liquid resembling milk in appearance.”

The National Milk Producers would be far better off working with consumers to come up with the next “Got Milk?” campaign which was the direct result of thorough consumer research by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Board Association in 1993.

The insight from the research was that milk goes with certain things like cereal and chocolate chip cookies. The creative team at Goodby took the next step of creating a campaign that addressed the consumers’ needs and wants very creatively.

I’m one of the 10% of non-cow’s milk drinkers since I’m allergic to milk, more specifically whey protein. So regardless of what you call it, I’m going to drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk.

Like all other brands that have become generic, the National Milk Producers Federation “owns” milk. That’s a tremendously strong and advantageous position. What are they going to do to improve their product or expand usage so they stop losing share to other milks?

Can the National Milk Producers Federation make a version of their product I’m not allergic to? I miss having ice cream and don’t like paying a premium for Almond milk.

How many other people are drinking non-cow milks because they’re allergic to cow’s milk?

Perhaps the National Milk Producers Federation’s time and efforts would be better spent on these issues rather than trying to change what consumers are already accustomed to doing — calling milk, regardless of the source, “milk.”

What do you think? Should the National Milk Producers Federation be able to trademark “milk?”


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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