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Rebranding Whole Milk: Sometimes a Name Isn’t Enough

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In the not too distant past, there were basically only a few milk choices: skim, 1%, 2%, and whole. All of it came from cows.

Of course, the numbers refer to the fat content of the milk. But whole milk only contains about 3.5% fat. That's not terrible. So why not call it 3.5% milk? Calling it "whole" milk conjures up jugs of fat. But for as long as anyone can remember, whole milk has either been just "milk" or "whole milk."

Since 1975, whole milk sales in the US have decreased by 61%. See this chart (source):


Somewhere along the way, milk producers decided that calling milk "whole" wasn't a good idea. They switched to calling it "Vitamin D" milk. That has a much healthier connotation. But it hasn't turned around sales. The product essentially hasn't changed in years, and re-branding it didn't do anything. Because sometimes changing the name just isn't enough.

Of course, that's due to many factors such as cha…