California’s Milk Marketing Board has announced Moo Money, a cashback program which enables customers to accrue points any time they purchase liquid milk. These points can later be converted into a Virtual Reward Card that can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. California Milk Processor Board, the same group that invented the famous “got milk?” ads, created this program as a way to increase consumption of the original farm-to-table product.
 
“For 25 years, we have connected with our consumers in meaningful ways through some of the most iconic ad campaigns,” says the board’s executive director, Steve James. “Now, we are thrilled to be able to give back to all the families in California that recognize that fresh and all-natural dairy milk, the original farm-to-table food, offers great taste and wholesome benefits. We are launching Moo Money to thank and reward California families for their loyalty.”
 
The rewards program is temporary, slated to only run through April 28, 2019. However, until then, any California resident 18 or over can register on the Moo Money website to enter the program. From there, in-store purchases can be redeemed by submitting a photo of your receipt online. Web-based purchases can be tracked as well. The Virtual Reward Cards, meanwhile, will be valid until June 1.
 
Customers can immediately begin earning valuable points for every $1 spent towards a qualifying purchase of real dairy milk. The Virtual Reward Cards will be delivered to participants via a link to a Virtual Reward Card PDF. Any gallon, half gallon, quart, or non-standard pack size of real dairy milk purchased at any retailer in the state of California qualifies for this program.  Alternative “milk” products and beverages, such as rice, coconut, almond, and other substitutes, are not eligible for this program.
 
Milk has been a hot topic recently as the FDA attempts to decide whether to reserve the word “milk” specifically to products that come from an animal.  Many dairy groups think this is especially important as dairy milk has seen more and more customers turning to plant-based milk in recent years. In turn, prices of real dairy milk have been falling for the past several years running. Farmers, processors, and producers alike are struggling to adapt to the demands of an ever-tougher market.
 
According to Nielsen data commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association, sales of plant-based milks were up 9 percent in a year last summer, comprising about half the money spent on milk. From 2012 to 2017, Mintel estimated non-dairy milk sales in the United States  percent.
 
Will consumers keep buying milk when the financial incentive is gone? Only time will tell, but given the California Milk Board’s previous marketing success, perhaps this program will do what it takes to begin herding consumers back into the dairy category.
 

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