I purchased a half-gallon of Twin Brook Creamery Whole Milk. The milk is locally produced out of Lynden, WA. I found it at QFC next to dozens of other milk products from different brands. The milk sells in glass bottles with a refundable surcharge.
Milk is a basic good which has its own positioning in the market generally, but the important component in this case of The Twin Brook is the brand itself. Twin Brook has clearly taken care to position itself distinctly in the milk market. The product dressing is minimalist. The brand name with a small logo appear at the top. “Lynden, WA” appears at the bottom. And the brief catch phrase “Close to Nature. Close to You” appears in the middle. The only description of the product appears on the cap. There are no descriptions of the product on the face. The biggest differentiating factor is the glass bottle. This signals quality and associates a throwback to the days when milk was delivered daily in glass bottles to your doorstep. Significantly, the milk is not “organic,” or at least makes no claims to be so. However, the milk is not homogenized (only lightly pasteurized), and contains no GMOs (genetically modified organisms). This product is marketed as a premium product (high quality, better ingredients) and a local product (supporting local business and perception of freshness). Notably, it is not marketed as a specialty, luxury, or “fancy” product. It’s minimalist positioning ensures that while high quality, it is no frills and a “value product” in spite of its overall price premium. Neither is it shouting things like “healthy,” “organic,” or “no rBST” etc. It relies on the packaging and the local stamp to suggest characteristics like healthiness, freshness and quality.
The price of this product is significantly higher than most alternatives in the milk market generally which are neither local nor premium. However the pricing is comparable with other local and premium milks, many of which are organic. Additionally, the product is so packaged (thick heavy glass bottle) that there is a perception of value in the size and weight of the purchase. The half-gallon glass bottle approximates the height and weight (of course not quite the girth) of a typical low-end plastic jug gallon of milk. And when the price of a half-gallon is compared to the price of the gallon jug, the actual sticker price is lower per unit, even though the price per volume is slightly higher. A half-gallon cost $2.79 plus a refundable bottle deposit. A typical gallon of milk ranges between $4-5 a gallon. Other “premium” milks range between $3-5 per half-gallon.
The target market here appears to be something broader than the typical hardcore “local-organic, willing to pay a lot for it” set which has been well segmented by many brands, particularly in the Northwest. Twin Brook appears to be reaching upward to capture a growing “middle-class” of food buyers. Those who want to avoid overly-industrial food products without going completely granola, only-buy-organic, pay through the nose for “wholesome” food products.