The consumption of flavored milk among a children population. The influence of beliefs and the association of brands with emotions.
Although milk and dairy products are seen as an important part of a child's diet, their consumption is declining. The aim of this study is to investigate the consumption of milk and flavored milk among a sample of 513 Belgian children aged between 8 and 13 years. In addition, the association between flavored milk brands and emotions is examined. Children prefer and consume more flavored than plain milk. They indicate that consumption is a self-made choice and that parents mainly ensure the availability of these products. Children prefer flavored milk to plain milk, although it is perceived to be less healthy. No correlation could be found between brand awareness and the consumption of flavored milk. Brands of flavored milk evoke divergent emotions and can be classified into different groups based upon their association with a type of emotion (i.e. positive/negative). This study demonstrates that taste is an important factor in flavored milk consumption by children and shows a strong relationship between brands and emotions. Consequently, the taste needs to be appealing for children, but it is equally important that children associate the brand with positive emotions, as this will lead to a higher preference. Milk producers who target children can use the insights gained from this study in the development of new products.