- The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), a national board funded by U.S. milk companies to promote milk consumption, and grocery tech company Chicory teamed up on a digital milk aisle experience to boost e-commerce growth of dairy milk, according to a press release.
- MilkPEP is using Chicory's in-recipe ads to promote milk to recipe viewers in its network of more than 1,000 influencer foods sites. The shoppable ads direct consumers to online shopping at Meijer or AmazonFresh, with more retailers to be added. Clicking on an ad will take consumers to a digital milk aisle page, listing all of the milk products and brands available in their area. Consumers can then select products to be added to their digital shopping cart.
- The campaign was created with strategic agency Campbell Ewald and shopper agency Arc Worldwide. While other brands, including Campbell’s General Mills, Avocados from Mexico and others, have used Chicory’s shoppable recipe platform and in-recipe ads, MilkPEP is the first to use the digital aisle technology, according to the release.
MilkPEP is the latest food entity to focus on e-commerce in an effort to target digital-savvy millennials and on-the-go consumers who spend more time on their smartphones than ever before. Consumers are also showing more interest in online grocery shopping. Online grocery sales are expected to account for 20% of total grocery retail by 2025, reaching $100 billion, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
Including Amazon in its digital grocery aisle could be a key step in helping milk brands build loyalty and drive sales — though the company's AmazonFresh service has struggled to grow in the more than ten years it's been in business.
MilkPEP is hoping shoppable ads and the digital aisle will boost sales at a time when more consumers are embracing dairy-free diets and milk sales are slumping. Sales of fluid milk dropped 3.5% in the five years ended in 2017, while dairy alternatives increased 4%, according to CNBC citing data by Dutch bank Rabobank. Dairy alternatives account for just 3% of the $600 billion global dairy industry, but they are growing more popular.
Plant-based and other dairy alternative brands have gained a foothold with younger consumers, who are showing more interest in going dairy-free. The brands have created savvy marketing campaigns touting the health benefits of their products, used clear labeling and played up the use of locally sourced ingredients. At the same time, the packaging and labeling of dairy milk hasn't changed much over the years, according to the CNBC report.