Lion’s milk pitch punts on Eagle

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Josh Kennedy.
Camera IconJosh Kennedy. Credit: Getty Images.

Dairy giant Lion is hoping to kick some goals by using Eagles forward Josh Kennedy to promote its chocolate milk as the ideal sports recovery drink.

Kennedy will spearhead a marketing campaign after Lion became aware that Eagles nutritionists encouraged players to drink Masters chocolate milk as part of their post-match routine.

The Japanese-owned company will also bow to the wishes of its 29 dairy farmer suppliers in WA and return to using the Masters brand name on milk processed at its plant in Bentley.

Lion dairy and drink managing director Peter West said the move away from the Pura milk brand used nationally reflected the strong local connection with the Masters name.

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“If I talk to any of our farmers, they’ll say to me, ‘We think it should be called Masters and not Pura milk’,” he said.

“With milk, there is a strong affinity to brands people have grown up with. In about eight weeks, you’ll see an evolution of our label to reflect that.”

Mr West said the Eagles’ use of Masters chocolate milk had led to a sponsorship deal with the club and Kennedy, who is the AFL’s leading goal kicker.

Recent studies have highlighted the merits of flavoured milk in sports recovery, with 600ml providing about 20g of protein.

In addition to the milk rebranding and Eagles deal, Lion will spend $43 million on upgrades at Bentley over the next three years.

The volume of milk processed at the site jumped from 60 million litres a year to 92 million litres when Lion won the contract to supply Coles away from rival processor Harvey Fresh.

Mr West rejected claims from shadow agriculture minister Mick Murray that WA’s three big processors could be engaged in anti-competitive behaviour by sharing milk at times of under or over supply.

Mr Murray has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate milk sharing.

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