The FDA report specifically calls for restaurants to offer more low-fat and fat-free milk beverages, as milk provides important nutrients, such as vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium, lacking in many Americans diets. The report also recommends that these nutrient-rich beverage options be made readily available especially with childrens meals. The report points to the success of introducing healthier beverage menu options at select quick service restaurants (QSR), and acknowledges that the key to success is offering nutrient-rich milk in appealing packaging, such as low-fat white and chocolate milk in contemporary, single-serve, 8-ounce plastic bottles.
With more families eating meals away from home, the FDA report underscores what I know as a mom and registered dietitian: that healthier menu options are a must for meeting the nutrition needs of on-the-go families, says Ann Marie Krautheim, M.S., R.D., L.D., senior vice president of nutrition affairs, National Dairy Council. This report and leadership from quick service restaurants will serve as a call-to-action for other foodservice outlets to incorporate and market more low calorie, nutrient-rich food choices that appeal to consumers, such as low-fat and fat-free dairy.
Closing the Gap: Healthier Beverage Options Help Consumers Meet Daily Nutrition Needs To help Americans close the gap between actual consumption and the governments recommended three daily servings of dairy, Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), representing Americas dairy farmers, collaborates with the foodservice industry specifically quick service restaurants (QSRs) McDonalds and Wendys to make more milk choices available.
In 2004 McDonald's and Wendys both introduced single-serve plastic containers of low-fat white and chocolate milk. DMI is working with additional quick service restaurants to introduce new milk options in 2006.
The introduction of low-fat white and flavored milk at McDonalds and Wendys meets consumer demand for milk and their nutrition needs while also proving a smart business decision. Since the launch of single-serve, 8-ounce plastic re-sealable bottles, restaurants have experienced a nearly eight fold increase in weekly milk sales, with average weekly sales for these national chains totaling more than 5.2 million units per week, compared to the 690,000 units per week when the milk was offered in paper cartons. The FDA report notes that, since making the switch to 8-ounce bottles, milk sales at both QSRs have been sustained and healthy.