A bold attempt to revamp the milk market by making the product more convenient for on-the-move consumers, and by charging them nearly three-times the cost of a normal pint for the privilege, is due to begin in the UK.
The 'designer' milk product, called simply M, is designed to attract core drinkers away from carbonated soft drinks and back to milk. Sold in small, screw-top bottles and retailing at up to 85p (€1.34) a bottle (compared to an average 29p for a pint of 'normal' milk), M is an attempt to build on the success of the on-the-go mineral water market which has blossomed in the UK in recent years.
Renwick Haddow, finance director of Branded Drinks, the company behind M, told Ananova that he got the idea for the brand when he wanted a drink of milk one day and was forced to buy a full pint, which was too difficult to hold and too much to drink in one go.
With milk not being known for its easy-to-preserve qualities once out of the fridge, what was needed was a smaller bottle with a replaceable top - exactly like those already widespread in the soft drinks and bottled water industry - which would make it much easier and more convenient for consumers to drink milk without wasting half the bottle.
The product could be on the supermarket shelves by the end of the year, provided Haddow can find the right supplier - he is looking for top quality, organic milk from a guaranteed BSE-free source in order to justify the premium price.
While selling milk in convenient, resealable bottles is nothing new, this has until now been the sole domain of flavoured milk, which marketers have clearly believed better suit the expectations of a core audience weaned on carbonated - and highly-flavoured - soft drinks.
Persuading young people to simply drink milk on its own, especially at a price more than 50 per cent higher than the average can of Coca-Cola, could prove difficult, but the product at least has the benefit of offering consumers a healthier, convenient choice - a factor which has also been significant in the success of the bottled water market.
The health card is clearly one which Haddow will be emphasising in his future negotiations with potential retailers - including vending machine operators, which could offer further opportunities to spread sales of the brand to important markets such as schools.