Food Biz

Why Fizzy, Pink Milk Might Be Coming to a Grocery Store Near You

September 26, 2017

It’s apparently been a terrible time for milk in the United Kingdom, where dairy has fallen victim to declining sales. The blame, dairy company Arla claims, falls on consumers and their increased appetites for non-dairy alternatives to milk, leading to a sharp slump in sales for actual dairy.

So Arla has come up with a way to offset this trend. The company, the Telegraph reported on Sunday, has plans to market a pink “sparkling fruit and milk” concoction within the United Kingdom. It's part of a bid to jazz up dairy and endear consumers to it once again, therefore rescuing the company (and the dairy industry at large) from decline. Arla initially teased these plans in August of last year when it declared plans to triple its milk profits by 2020.

Arla is tinkering with a formula that few companies have cracked within Western markets. Look no further than Coca-Cola's fizzy milk Vio, which holds the honorable distinction of being crowned one of TIME’s “Top 10 Bad Beverage Ideas.” Or take Britvic’s ill-conceived Tango Strange Soda, another carbonated milk-and-fruit beverage that was swiftly discontinued. Arla will certainly be fighting an uphill battle.

Easy to be glib and call this a crazy concept, I guess, but the Telegraph is correct to note that a concoction of this sort isn’t so bizarre in some parts of the world. The Telegraph compares Arla's idea to doogh in the Middle East, yogurt that’s diluted with water and sometimes carbonated. In terms of mass market products, there's also Milkis, a cream soda popular in South Korea. To my mind, whatever Arla’s making sounds a bit like a drink I had often as a child in an Indian-American household, milk with a splash of Rooh Afza, a syrupy flavoring agent that lends milk a rosy hue.

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Arla will begin rolling its drink out incrementally in test markets within the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the UAE before determining whether to market it across the world. Let’s see how those tests go.

Does fizzy milk sound great or gross to you? Let us know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.