Filter it, flavour it and nutritionally enhance it – suppliers have done a great deal in recent years to add value to milk by meeting different consumer needs.

Few, however, have simply repackaged milk in a bid to make it more appealing to a specific audience. That’s surprising given how powerful repackaging can be. Every marketer knows the tale of how Red Bull, worth £3.4bn in 2011, has its roots at least partly in the Asian drink Krating Daeng, which Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz adapted and repackaged for a western audience.

So, inspired by this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games – as well as studies showing milk to perform better than commercial sports drinks in aiding post-exercise recovery – we decided to take a fresh look at milk’s appeal to sportspeople.

We challenged design consultants Dragon Rouge to come up with packaging designs that would make milk more appealing to athletes and sports fans alike.

Last month, just yards from where the Olympic torch was passing through London at Lancaster Gate, the Dragon Rouge design team presented us with five bottle designs including insulating ridges, thermo-chromatic inks and easy-drink caps.

Next stop was the sportspeople themselves, who critiqued the different elements of our bottles.

Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t just the functionality of the designs that was of concern to them –image was also important, as personal trainer, Freddie Osei explained. “A main buying consideration is how cool or sexy the drink looks when training, he said. “You must keep up the cool look at all times, even when sweating!”

We can’t claim that milk will give you wings, but we do hope our feature and Dragon Rouge’s designs will make suppliers and retailers think again about milk’s ability to tap into the £1.7bn sports and energy drinks category. You can see the five designs –and the feedback from our sportspeople – in this weekend’s Dairymen supplement, free with The Grocer.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear your thoughts on milk and sport. Do you drink milk post-exercise? What are the main challenges and opportunities for it in the burgeoning sports nutrition market?    

Let us know by tweeting @TheGrocer, leaving a comment on or dropping us a line at

Watch the video preview of this year's Dairymen