got choc milk?

US: Chocolate milk makers target grown-up athletes

Chocolate milk, to allow it or not, is a hot topic for schools in America. In reaction, chocolate milk producers are turning their attention away from school kids and focusing on millions of adult athletes.

The national milk organisation behind the powerful and famous milk mustache and Got Milk?? ad campaigns, has announced plans to literally wipe the milk mustache out of its chocolate milk ads and begin targeting the flavoured dairy product at what might appear to be a most unlikely audience: grown-up jocks.

The move comes at a time school districts across the US have eliminated chocolate milk from schools. As a result, consumption has dropped four of the past five years. Despite this, the $2.5 billion flavoured-milk category is the only milk sector showing growth.

USAToday reports that this is the first time in 17 years that the Milk Processor Education Program hasn’t used its milk mustache image in an ad. The new tag line for chocolate milk: “My After”. Ads making their debut feature 2010 Ironman world champion, Mirinda Carfrae (above), basketball star, Carmelo Anthony, and Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres, singing the praises of chocolate milk.

“Chocolate milk has what athletes need to recover after a tough workout,” says Julia Kadison, VP of marketing at the dairy group. An industry-funded study from three universities published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise says that recreational runners who drank fat-free chocolate milk after a strenuous run ran 23% longer when exercising later versus those who drank carbohydrate-only sports drinks.

Not everyone is impressed, notably Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York University: “As the pressure on schools has grown to get chocolate milk out, they’re looking for any new marketing. I’d never recommend drinking a sweetened drink. People shouldn’t drink their calories.”

But Brian Zehetner, chief science officer for Anytime Fitness, a fitness franchise with no connections to the milk industry, says drinking chocolate milk to help the body recover after a strenuous workout “is actually a good idea. I recommend chocolate milk to athletes I work with.

But nutritionist Nestle suggests something else after a tough workout: “Eat a sandwich.”

Additional reading: Re-thinking chocolate milk