TREND The drink of childhood being geared to adults
HOW IT STARTED Take health-conscious baby boomers tired of sodas; add milk producers looking for a new market; stir
JUDGMENT CALL A nice break from a cafe latte
The last time you had chocolate milk, it may have been pizza-square day in your grade school cafeteria. But this beverage of youth is growing up. Sales of flavored milks, more than 90% of them chocolate, rose 18% last year. And much of the growth, milk producers say, is coming from people more apt to wear their milk mustaches at corporate cafeterias than school ones. In February, Hershey Foods completed a national rollout of its fat-free chocolate milk, a product with appeal for calorie-counting adults. National brands like Nestle-owned Nesquik, along with regional dairies like Dean Foods in the Midwest, have started packaging chocolate milk in single-serve plastic bottles, which, unlike the powder mix and kid-friendly half-pint cartons, are geared to adults shopping in grocery and convenience stores.
The appeal? Partly, it's a growing awareness of the importance of calcium for women. And for dieters, chocolate milk is more filling than a soft drink with about the same calories. "A cold glass of chocolate milk tastes better than a soda any day," says Ronald Osofsky of Ronnybrook Farms, an Ancramdale, N.Y., dairy that offers single-serve bottles. "And you can actually feel good about drinking it." Or at least feel younger.
--By Rebecca Winters