Copyright 2004

[ April 28th 2004 ]

Almost two-thirds of all Scots children now believe that milk is 'cool', according to independent research by MRUK Scotland. The results of the first stage of Scotland's 'The White Stuff Milk Moustache' campaign, featuring top names from the world of showbiz and sport, including Atomic Kitten, Nell McAndrew, David Coulthard, Martin Kemp, and Tess Daly, show that 62 per cent of kids perceive that drinking milk can be cool, and that 71 per cent of kids now say that milk is a popular drink for kids their age, an increase of nearly 20 per cent from last autumn when the campaign was launched.

The results are a positive indication of a shift in attitudes in relation to the consumption of milk as a beverage and are particularly relevant in relation to ongoing concern over the United Kingdom's 'soft drinks' culture, and the prominence of these drinks in schools. Most recently, the British Dietetic Association has spoken out about the potential ticking timebomb for kids who do not get the recommended RDA of three daily servings of milk and dairy foods being at risk of fractures normally associated with the elderly; however, organisers of 'The White Stuff Milk Moustache' campaign are confident that things are beginning to change.

Sandy Wilkie, chairman of The Scottish Dairy Marketing Company, said: "At the outset, we did not expect to change attitudes overnight, but we felt that we had a great product, a great proposition, and great celebrities on board who would really put across the ethos of what milk is all about. "While the health benefits of milk are very important, these can be difficult to convey to young children or teens who are more interested in what their friends are doing or what the latest celebrity news is.

"To make a real impact, we felt it was important to mesh these two cultures together so that we could begin to get kids to look after their health by giving milk a modern, aspirational status. And whilst there is still a long way to go, these results show that we have come a significant way in a short space of time. We are all very optimistic as we enter the next stage of the campaign."

Encouragingly for The Scottish Dairy Marketing Company and the Milk Development Council (MDC), the organisers of the campaign, and the Scottish Executive who invested 50,000 in the campaign last November under the 'healthyliving' banner, the results also saw a marked decrease in perceptions of milk as a fattening product - which can be an important factor stopping children drinking milk, especially as they enter their teens.

Less than a quarter of children interviewed post-campaign regarded milk as being a particularly fattening drink, compared to a pre-campaign figure of one-third, with only five per cent of mums now stating that their kids worry about putting on weight if they drink milk. While more than 90 per cent of kids feel that drinking milk is healthy. This ties into the core product message of the campaign - with all posters and promotional material carrying the message that semi-skimmed milk is 98 per cent fat-free, plus the Executive's 'healthyliving' green apple logo.

Gillian Kynoch, Scotland's food and health co-ordinator, said: "These results are very encouraging. The campaign has only been running for six months, but already we are beginning to see a shift in perceptions among consumers. "Obviously there is still a long way to go, but by talking to young people in a way that is relevant, we are seeing new positive attitudes to milk emerging. This is reinvigorating well established health messages, such as the link between calcium and strong bones."

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