Dairy council ups efforts as milk prices keep rising

ROSEMONT, IL: The National Dairy Council hopes that consumers will associate summer with dairy foods, but rising milk prices are threatening to sour the story.

ROSEMONT, IL: The National Dairy Council hopes that consumers will associate summer with dairy foods, but rising milk prices are threatening to sour the story.

June is Dairy Month, and the national organization and local chapters of the dairy council have stepped up their "3-A-Day" campaign, encouraging consumers to eat three dairy servings daily.

But the industry is presently receiving considerably more publicity for the skyrocketing price of milk.

Char Heer, a registered dietician and consumer communication manager for the dairy council, said that it is too early to attempt to link dairy prices to consumption.

"It hasn't affected the campaign at all," she said. "Dairy products continue to be the best value in the supermarket."

She stressed that there has been a "calcium crisis" in the number of teenagers and adults who do not meet the daily requirements.

The council is working with Edelman, its AOR, to promote a $5 dairy rebate. A website features snack ideas, recipes, and contests.

Local chapters of the dairy council are also hosting their own campaigns and coordinating their own local media coverage, Heer noted.

Two fast-food chains have partnered with the council.

McDonald's last month added kid-sized low-fat milk jugs in Happy Meals. Next month, Wendy's will become the first fast-food company to place the 3-A-Day logo on single-serve cartons of flavored milk.

McNeil, maker of digestive aid Lactaid, has launched a Dairy Month campaign featuring its first celebrity spokesperson, former Growing Pains star Joanna Kerns, who will share cooking tips. Kerns is lactose intolerant.

The company is trying to stay away from the price issue, according to RF Binder, one of its PR agencies.

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