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Issue Date: Vol. 45, No. 10, October 2005, Posted On: 10/29/2005

MilkPEP Hails ABA Guidelines As Offering Wider Opportunity For School Milk Vending

Tim Sanford

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Beverage Association’s new guidelines for the sale of cold drinks in schools by its member companies have opened the door for vending operators to expand their milk sales, according to the Milk Processor Educational Program. The guidelines were drafted by ABA (formerly the National Soft Drink Association) to help address concern over childhood obesity (see VT, September).

MilkPEP observed that the guidelines, which limit the variety and availability of soft drinks in elementary, middle and high schools, “are a step in the right direction toward offering students healthy beverages.”

Vending operators, MilkPEP points out, now are in a position to expand their milk offering in place of other, less nutritious beverages.

“Milk comes in a variety of flavors and fun packaging that kids love,” said Corinne McGarrity, senior director of marketing for for the International Dairy Foods Association (Washington, DC). “The new guidelines provide and opportunity for operators to expand their vended milk programs as part of their existing business, or as a way to grow their businesses – both in schools and overall – by attracting new customers seeking healthier options.”

McGarrity added that 100% milk is one of the most nutritious beverages available today, containing nine essential ingredients that confer such benefits as the bone-building strength of calcium and the muscle-building value of protein.

Studies also have indicated that milk can play a role in maintaining healthy weight. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that drinking more milk and fewer sugar-sweetened soft drinks may help teens maintain a healthy weight. The results showed a correlation between increased intake of milk and milk products and a decrease in body fat. Teen-aged girls who consumed the recommended four 8-fl.oz. glasses of milk a day had, on average, 1/8-in. slimmer waistlines than their coevals who drank soda, according to the study. (Novotny, R., et al.: Dairy intake is associated with lower body fat and soda intake with greater weight in adolescent girls, Journal of Nutrition. 2004; 134 (8); 1905-1909.)

Vended milk is growing in popularity in schools, MilkPEP reported, with 65% of schools allowing students to purchase milk beverages from vending machines during lunch periods. Results of a five-month study conducted by MilkPEP concluded that many students will choose milk over competitive beverages, if given the choice. Specifically, 68% of students said they bought vended milk, and about 30% of students purchased milk at least once a week. Average weekly sales per machine were 307 units in high schools and 213 units in middle schools.

More information about milk vending, and resources for operators interested in pursuing the new opportunities it presents, can be found at milkdelivers.com

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