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Dairy Facts 2016

MilkPEP’s Refuel Strategy Lifts Flavored Milk Sales, Earns Accolades

Apr 10, 2013

After decades of a slow but steady decline in milk consumption, an emerging body of published research identified a surprising new usage occasion and a new audience for chocolate milk: as an effective beverage for helping active adults recover after strenuous exercise. The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) recognized this as an opportunity to reposition what has traditionally been known as a “kids’ drink” into a serious athletes’ beverage in order to engage lapsed milk drinkers, drive incremental sales of flavored milk and provide a positive health halo around the category.

In March, 2012, MilkPEP launched the REFUEL | got chocolate milk? campaign as part of its occasion-based communications strategy. Leveraging credible science, the equity of the iconic “got milk?” campaign, highly influential elite athletes and credible partners, MilkPEP has gone head-to-head with established sports beverage brands to tout the benefits of drinking chocolate milk after strenuous exercise.

Over the past year, the REFUEL | got chocolate milk? campaign has generated considerable traction and recognition. IRI Symphony and U.S. Department of Agriculture flavored milk sales data shows a consistent year-on-year increase each month since the campaign launched, helping to push flavored milk sales into the black for the first time in years.

Campaign awareness among active adults also has grown steadily, fueled by a steady stream of media coverage around chocolate milk’s refuel benefits. The campaign is also receiving recognition within the sports marketing industry; the REFUEL got chocolate milk? Campaign is a finalist in three Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards, which are among the most prestigious and competitive awards in sports business.  The categories are:

  • Brand Activation at Live Events,
  • Live Event Marketing and
  • Webisode Series.

MilkPEP continues to work diligently to strategically focus its marketing efforts on ways that will have the most impact, keep milk and its inherent qualities top of mind, and most importantly, increase consumption. The success of the REFUEL | got chocolate milk? campaign suggests that the message is resonating with consumers and the industry.

For more information, contact Donna Armstrong, MilkPEP senior communications manager, at

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