Baddour isn't worried about competition from Coke. He carried Bravo! Foods' Slammers® before Coke secured its exclusive arrangement with Bravo! Foods, and he found that schools didn't like having candy branding on their machines.
Baddour agreed that all beverages sell better in glassfronts than closed fronts, but he isn't yet convinced that the glassfront beverage machines are as reliable as the closed fronts.
VIEWS MIXED ON NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF SHELF STABLE MILK
Coca-Cola Bottling of Yakima and Tri Cities, a bottler/vendor based in Yakima, Wash., welcomes shelf stable milk, said Jeff Hemp, on-premise manager for vending. "It's the way to go," he said. "Longer shelf life is definitely a huge plus. We don't have refrigeration on every truck."
Hemp plans to ship the Nesquik on his soda trucks. He has three facings of milk in glassfront cold beverage machines in schools, B&I accounts and hospitals.
Hemp doesn't think consumers in general view the Nesquik as less nutritious than other milk. "The nutritional value outweighs the sugar value or fat in it; the 'good' in it outweighs the 'bad.'" He noted that the product meets school nutrition requirements, and he welcomes the opportunity to educate customers about healthy options.
Hemp's company continues to carry half pint milk from a local dairy in its cold food machines, priced at 60 cents. The Nesquik pints are mostly in school beverage machines, priced at $1.25. He said the profit margin is lower, but the net revenue is higher on the Nesquik sales.
In reviewing milk sales, Hemp was curious to notice that middle schools and colleges both moved more milk than high schools.
"Anywhere you have a pop machine, you should be able to vend milk," Hemp said. "People don't go to a pop machine to get milk (presently), but they will."
As a Coke bottler, Hemp will have access to Bravo! Foods' Slammers® line. He welcomes more variety. "There's room for variety in milk," he said.
Hemp is also encouraged by the fact that Coke took initiative in buying a stake in a milk company. "The fact that Coke got Bravo! says there's a future," he said.
VITAMIN FORTIFIED HELPS
Alan Drazen, vice president of Midlantic Vending in Columbia, Md., is more enthusiastic about the 1 percent fat content of Nesquik than about the shelf stable aspect. He noted that his company already has refrigerated trucks, so the shelf stable isn't an advantage.
Nesquik's reduced fat content has allowed Midlantic Vending to maintain sales in schools that have required him to remove ice cream.
He also gives Nestlé high marks for product quality. "It hasn't lost anything in terms of the flavor profile and the body of the flavor where they've replaced fat," he said.
Drazen said student spending capacity has a lot to do with Nesquik's success. The higher the disposable income, the higher the sales.
VIEWS MIXED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MILK BRANDING
Drazen disagrees with those operators who think consumers are less brand focused on milk than other products. He has received an enthusiastic response to the product from school dietitians. "The consumer today is looking for a branded milk product," he said. "Unless you deliver product in a flavor profile and with proper branding, you're not going to get them to drink the calcium."
Cromer Food Service Inc. in Greenville, S.C. isn't interested in shelf stable milk. Brent Cromer, president, hasn't noticed his B&I accounts any less loyal to the half-pint milk he sources from a local dairy which he prices at 60 cents.
Cromer reflected the view of many operators in noting that he likes to place milk in the cold food machine since it doesn't incur a commission there and it helps fill the machine faster. "When you add milk to the mix (in the refrigerated machine), you don't have to put as much food in there," he said.
Sanese Services Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, has opted to use Shamrock Farms' 12-ounce, ESL offerings priced at $1.25, noted Matt Warner, purchasing director. The Shamrock Farms products go in the glassfront cold drink machines and in the food machines, while the fresh milk goes in the food machines.