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Natrel poses mac and cheese challenge to millennials

52-week challenge works to increase milk consumption

What’s one way to get millennials to eat more milk and cheese? Create 52 recipes for the classic dish, mac and cheese.

Last November, Natrel took up a challenge to create a macaroni and cheese dish with a different theme every week for an entire year. The recipes feature Natrel dairy products including lactose-free milk and organic milk, and various cheeses from parent company Agropur. The recipes are featured on an online content hub.

“Milk consumption has been declining for the past 20 years and we always try, as a brand, to bring back people to dairy consumption,” said Stéphane Renauld, national marketing director at Natrel.

“Looking at trends and research, we understood that mac and cheese is still a good comfort food and people are looking for recipes… We said ‘why not challenge ourselves to recreate every week a mac and cheese recipe based, of course, on milk and cheese.’”

Consumers are invited to create their own recipes and share them on Instagram tagging @Natrel and including the hashtag #NatrelMac, to enter a monthly contest. Every month, one person wins Le Creuset prizes and a grand prize of Le Creuset cookware will be awarded at the end of the contest. Since the campaign launch, the Instagram page has doubled its fan base to just over 1,700 followers, and time spent on the microsite now exceeds five minutes.

The campaign was developed with LG2 in Montreal. Photographer Virginie Gosselin and food stylist Johanne Depelteau are also working on the project.

“We drew inspiration from the foodie phenomenon ‘52 weeks of cooking.’ It seemed entirely natural that Natrel, a brand that was already heavily producing food-related content, would take up an equally ambitious challenge generated by a web community,” said Joëlle Choquette, LG2’s content chief, in a release. “The goal of the offensive is to maintain a distinct and relevant link between the brand and its consumers, especially millennials.”

Renauld said the specific target is consumers 18 to 34 who like to cook and are looking for quick meal solutions that are both tasty and different.

Some of the recipes so far include a breakfast-style mac and cheese and a gluten-free jalapeno popper mac and cheese. “We’re trying to not just do noodles with just cheese and milk— we’re trying to reinvent it every week,” said Renauld.

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