Dairy Crest is set to boost the sales of fresh milk with the launch of a new six-pint bottle. The innovation comes after the company identified in-home availability as a key driver for increased consumption. Currently one in five UK households runs out of milk at least once a week.

According to Dairy Crest, the migration of customers from doorstep delivery to supermarket purchase has led to an overall reduction in the size of the fresh milk market.

Supermarket shoppers buy an average of 1.3 pints per week less than they did when buying from a milkman, with the shift in purchasing trends resulting in lost sales of £77M last year alone.

The new, consumer friendly 6-pint bottle is designed to address this reduction in volume by encouraging supermarket customers to trade up to a larger format during their weekly shop. The bottle has been specially designed with a larger, stronger handle and a new neck to make it easy to handle and pour.

Richard Pryor, category development controller of Dairy Crest’s Liquids Business Unit, said: “The new bottle is designed to increase weight of purchase per shopping trip and we’re confident that it will soon become an industry standard. It underlines Dairy Crest’s commitment to invest in initiatives that unlock category opportunities and deliver continuous improvements to both customers and consumers.”

Dairy Crest has brought together supply chain interests including the Milk Development Council and Nampak, a bottle supplier, to help drive milk category developments initiatives, and is investing £350 000 in the 6-pint bottle launch. Backed by a point of sale campaign, the new format will initially be available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Safeway and ASDA stores in the West Country region from 6 October, with a national roll-out to all Dairy Crest customers planned for March 2004.