Thursday, September 5, 2013

Want Protein? Drink Milk!

Protein was the buzz at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting + Food Expo in Chicago this past July. For the most part, ingredient suppliers were showcasing their isolated protein ingredients for use in all types of foods and beverages, as formulators are aggressively trying to boost protein contents in order to make protein content claims…one of the hottest trends in the world of food and beverage marketing.

“Flagging protein content on foods and beverages is one of the most common labeling trends at the moment,” according to Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands. “And I don’t see this changing, as consumers are aware of protein’s ability to curb your appetite and contribute to lean muscle development. When you eat more protein, you tend to eat fewer carbs and fat, so a growing number of marketers are emphasizing the positive—the protein content—and not even commenting on the product’s other nutrients.”

The great news for fluid milk marketers is that an 8-ounce glass of milk inherently contains 8 grams of high-quality, complete protein, making it a good source of protein by delivering 16% of the Daily Value. The protein in milk is a blend of casein and whey and contains all of the essential amino acids in the proportion that the body needs.

Milk Proteins in the Morning

Earlier this year I wrote a blog entitled: Protein for Breakfast--and When They Are Dairy Proteins, You Get Better Benefits. You can view it HERE.

MilkPEP agrees that milk proteins are the best way to start the day and wants to communicate this to Americans. On August 21, MilkPEP launched a brand new program designed to drive awareness of milk’s high-quality protein. Built from in-depth research that identified the impactful power of the milk protein message, MilkPEP’s new Protein Fight Club program is designed to motivate behavior change and spur milk consumption at breakfast…the most important meal of the day.

Why Protein?

At IFT, Chicago-based market research firm Mintel presented “Protein: Is it the Next Big Thing?” The answer is yes, according to Lynn Dornblaser, director-innovation and insight with Mintel.  She explained to IFT attendees that more than two-fifths of U.S. consumers say they don’t drink energy drinks because they “don’t seem safe,” opening the door for other ways to provide an energy lift. “And that energy is in the form of protein,” she said. Protein’s “sustained energy” is more appealing than the “fast energy” one gets with carbohydrates and caffeine.

She explained that among all new food and beverage introductions in the past year, dairy leads with the number of protein claims. “This is being driven by the popularity of Greek yogurt,” said Dornblaser.

Because it resonates with consumers that dairy foods contain protein, the time is right to make sure that consumers understand that the same great high-quality protein that is in Greek yogurt and other dairy foods is in a glass of milk.

The Protein Fight Club

The main message of the Protein Fight Club campaign is that the way for consumers to win their day is by starting each morning with milk. The multi-media campaign elevates the protein in milk as a competitive advantage over orange juice and other common breakfast items.

The campaign includes a series of eight videos that communicate that there are 8 grams of protein in each 8-ounce serving of milk. It puts the spotlight on protein by depicting milk in a series of humorous breakfast battles that showcase how milk’s protein stacks up against the competition and can help win each day.
Both entertaining and unforgettable, the video vignettes are now appearing on TV and online and are featured on You can also view the videos through these links:

We want to capture America’s attention with a quirky tone and remind them that milk is a good source of high-quality protein,” says Julia Kadison, vice president, MilkPEP. “While most Americans know milk is nutrient-packed, they tend to think of calcium and vitamin D, forgetting that milk is a great-tasting, versatile and natural source of protein as well.”

The Protein Fight Club campaign is also helping Americans win their own breakfast battles with a promotion that gives away a free gallon of milk every minute for eight weeks, and giving one person each week a chance to win free milk for a year. The promotion--at designed to encourage Americans to get into a healthy routine by starting each morning with milk’s high-quality protein.

MilkPEP members have access to the Protein Fight Club Playbook, which includes an array of marketing materials that can be customized for their brand, as well as downloadable marketing materials for digital and social programs and materials that can be ordered for retail merchandising.

If you would like to learn more about accessing the Protein Fight Club assets and materials, please contact Melissa Malcolm at

Talking Points for the Campaign

The fact is, almost two-thirds of Americans say they’re trying to get more protein in their diet, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s Food and Health Survey 2012, 2013. Yet, most people underestimate the importance of both getting protein at breakfast and the protein prowess of one of breakfast’s most popular staples: milk.

When it comes to an affordable, convenient, great-tasting morning protein that packs a serious punch, other breakfast options simply can’t match the power of milk, according to the campaign. 

While many Americans are looking to add more protein to their diets, breakfast is the meal they are least likely to seek out this important nutrient, and, yet, it may be the most important. Experts recommend including 20 grams to 30 grams of protein at each meal rather than in one large amount, but research shows that most adults are getting only 10 grams to 12 grams of protein at breakfast.

“Spreading out your protein throughout the day can optimize how your body uses it--and that means making sure you include enough protein at breakfast,” says David Grotto, best-selling author, dad and registered dietitian. “But not all protein is created equal. Milk protein is a complete protein. Many plant protein sources are missing some of the building blocks your body needs.”

From muscles to hair, bones to teeth, the body needs protein to be strong and healthy. Milk is a natural source of high-quality protein to build muscle, calcium to strengthen bones and B vitamins for energy. Milk is a breakfast powerhouse, packed with nine essential nutrients in each glass.

“Whether in a glass, cup or bowl, milk with breakfast is a delicious, easy and affordable way to help power you through the morning so you can win each day,” says Grotto.

David Wright, senior manager-marketing with The Hartman Group, Bellevue, WA, sums up the trend of protein in the morning.  “Among ingredients sought for health benefits, protein is high on the list of consumer priorities because it’s typically seen as filling and relates to notions of satiety,” he says. “Consumers also equate protein with energy, which is why consuming protein for breakfast is a great way to start the day.

“For most consumers, protein can do no wrong,” adds Wright. “They see consuming protein as a way to attain balanced nutrition, sustained energy and increased mental performance, as well as assist with weight management, build muscle strength and balance blood sugar. Further, protein is typically viewed as a key component to proper development in children.”

Milk…It starts the day off right!


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