Milk deserves its front billing

Articles
October 14, 2008

Milk deserves its front billing

Milk is the new ‘welcome home’ sign to shoppers at 13 new and remodeled Kroger stores in Virginia where they have placed refrigerated cases by the front of the store. This new location for the ultimate comfort food is a fresh, soothing message to patrons who’ve been buffeted by wild economic swings, and who likely appreciate a small calming maternal touch. Memories of a youthful treat with cookies might flash in their minds upon first view. Over time, they’ll simply enjoy that in these stores they no longer have to trek to the back to fill a Quick Trip for breakfast food.

Milk is the new ‘welcome home’ sign to shoppers at 13 new and remodeled Kroger stores in Virginia where they can set cold cases by the front.

This new location for the ultimate comfort food is a fresh, soothing message to patrons who’ve been buffeted by wild economic swings, and who likely appreciate a small calming maternal touch. Memories of a youthful treat with cookies might flash in their minds upon first view. Over time, they’ll simply enjoy that in these stores they no longer have to trek to the back to fill a Quick Trip for breakfast food.
 
That was and still is the industry M.O., with the hope people will find more to buy along the way. It may build baskets, but it annoys. And with drug chains, drive-thrus, convenience stores and Fresh & Easy-style stores making milk convenient, can supermarkets still afford to bank on a tired strategy?
 
It’s time to rethink this, especially since rapid price rises this year have blurred milk’s historic role as a loss leader in the supermarket, and drug stores have gladly filled that vacuum in order to expose their expanding consumables sets. On Long Island, NY,
where demand warrants it, Shoprite supermarkets display soy and organic milk varieties in produce near the walk-in, while keeping more traditional milks in the opposite rear corner of the store. Other food stores have caught on too.
 
And why not? Supermarkets posted $10.9 billion in unflavored refrigerated milk sales, up 11.6%, in the 52 weeks ended September 6, 2008, according to Nielsen. That’s 94% of the category sold thru food, drug and mass stores, excluding Walmart. Keep the sales flowing, and keep customers happy.
 
A coincidence perhaps, but these Kroger stores relocated milk just prior to two announcements that could affect milk demand.
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics said children from newborns to teens should consume 400 units of Vitamin D daily because it may help reduce their risks for contracting cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This is double the recommendation of what the Academy suggested five years earlier.
 
Also, the Milk Processor Education Program just launched a consumer education campaign that calls milk a nutritional bargain at 25 cents per 8-ounce glass.