Sales of flavoured milk drinks inched upwards last year, with value sales growing 0.2% and volume sales 4.4% [Kantar 52w/e 23 January 2011], leaving plenty of room for growth in a sub-category attractive to health-conscious consumers and, in particular, mothers.

Flavoured milk Yazoo, with less than 5% added sugar, belongs to the exclusive club of drinks meeting government guidelines on what drinks can be served in schools.

"In an ideal world, children would be happy to drink a plain glass of milk every day but research and brand experience show this is not likely to prove realistic," says Marielle de Jong, marketing director for brand owner FrieslandCampina UK. "Adding flavour to milk can be an effective solution."

Also targeting kids and the healthy shopper is Welsh organic brand Daioni, which makes flavoured milks that are low in sugar and fat and free from artificial colours and flavours.

Acting on feedback from stockists, brand owner Trioni is looking into launching Daoini in smaller 200ml cartons, at the same time refreshing its PoS. The drinks are available through major wholesalers including Suma, Cotswold Fayre and Essential Trading, or direct from the producer.

Milk drinks are getting more sophisticated, too. The previous two years have seen a number of 'posh' milk shakes enter the market, first Shaken Udder and most recently Lakeland Dairies' Modern Milk, a range of 'health-enriched' flavoured milks made from semi-skimmed milk with added vitamin D and fibre.

Simon Muschamp, Lakeland Dairies head of marketing, hopes the range of low-fat, low-sugar drink with additional health benefits will encourage adults to increase their consumption of milk.

Shaken Udder's co-founder Jodie Farran acknowledges that the launch of Modern Milk brings extra competition at the premium end but claims its positioning "is different". Rather than explicitly pushing the products' health benefits, Shaken Udder focuses on the premium, indulgent aspect of its milk shakes, which contain real fruit and authentic ingredients.

The approach seems to be working as the product recently achieved national listings with Waitrose. Fans of the drinks can collect 'stamps' at festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival, redeemable at Waitrose against bottled milkshakes.

Focus On Soft Drinks