Midwest Dairy Partners with Local Schools to Increase Milk Sales through Innovative Coffee Bars

According to the National Coffee Association, daily coffee consumption continues to grow for all age groups, but the most robust increase is among those ages 13-18. Over the past year, Midwest Dairy staff partnered with schools throughout our region to take advantage of this trend by providing the nutrition of milk to students via a creative new outlet – coffee bars. Offering coffee bars increases milk sales while providing school nutrition departments the chance to create a community gathering place for students to enjoy an on-trend beverage within the school building. Innovations like coffee bars provide high school students the opportunity to enjoy milk’s nutrition in surprising and fun new ways also supported by USDA Smart Snack rules.

Driving Dairy Sales

Not only do coffee bars help incorporate the nutrition and enjoyment of dairy into beverage opportunities for students, they also help to increase milk sales. From 2014 through 2019, Midwest Dairy has provided 16 high schools with grants to create a coffee bar at their school. Schools were required to match the funding to showcase their commitment to the new offering. In total, more than 40,000 incremental pounds of milk were sold in the high schools during the first year of the coffee bar operations.

Highlighting Success

Coffee bars are capturing the attention of school nutrition professionals as well. A Midwest Dairy success story was featured at this year’s annual National School Nutrition Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, where hundreds of school nutrition professionals gathered to learn about innovative school nutrition opportunities. In a session titled, “A Frothy Idea! Coffee Shops Go Viral,” School Nutrition Director Paul Becker, RD, LD, from Fort Zumwalt School District in Missouri, a Midwest Dairy Fully Developed School District Account, showcased the success of the milk-based coffee bar model he is implementing in the fourth and final high school within the district. Building on this success, Midwest Dairy continues work with Fort Zumwalt School District to expand the number of opportunities for students to enjoy dairy at the coffee bar by offering dairy snacks, including cheese sticks, bosco sticks (cheese stuffed breadsticks), yogurt parfaits, smoothies and flatbread pizzas, helping to increase sales in multiple categories.