The Great American Milk Drive - Milk Processor Education Program & Feeding America
MilkPEP is an organization funded by the nation’s milk processors with funding coming from overall milk category sales. Although milk has high household penetration, the category has been in a steady decline, with a 13% decrease in annual white milk gallon sales since 2010.
MilkPEP’s challenge was to create another reason for consumers to buy milk in a CPG retail environment without the ability to market like a traditional CPG brand.
Conversely, although milk has declined as a category, there are many people who still desperately want milk, but
can’t afford it. Over 46.5 million Americans rely on food banks, and milk is one of the top five items most requested by food bank clients. However, food banks rarely have any milk to distribute because when asked for donations, consumers usually only consider shelf-stable, non-perishable goods. And even if they have access to milk, many food banks don’t have the storage or distribution capabilities to distribute milk before it’s unsafe to drink.
The idea was to create new milk sales from current milk drinkers AND people who don’t drink milk by providing an easy way for them to buy it for families who really want it, but can’t afford it. The result: The Great American Milk Drive.
Partnering with Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the country, gave MilkPEP credibility, scale, and a way to assure that donations stayed in local communities by matching donations to the nearest local food banks by ZIP code.
To overcome the barriers to donating, storing and distributing milk to food bank patrons, the partners developed an innovative donation system to collect monetary donations from shoppers to fund vouchers for free milk – redeemable for any brand, at any retailer across the country. Local food banks were then able to provide the free milk in voucher form instead of having to store physical gallons onsite.
Evergreen program creative was designed to activate at any retailer at any time of the year. The partners also highlighted three drive periods where the cause had heightened relevance and urgency, and where our message could be pointed to drive awareness, retailer participation and consumer engagement.
Retailers embraced the program and many activated during key drive periods. Customized programs were developed with Kroger, Ahold, Albertsons/Safeway, Circle K and Cub Foods. The effort was supported by paid, earned and social media, trade print ads and grassroots events.
As a result, the Great American Milk Drive has driven over 15 million incremental gallons to the category, far exceeding the goal of 2.15 million gallons. The program has not only brought new shoppers into the milk category, but also increased sales among lapsed users who had decreased their milk consumption by reminding them about the nutritional benefits and value of milk. Over 670,000 gallons of milk have been donated to families served by Feeding America food banks across the country.