La Colombe: Dark Chocolate Delight


Ask // Create a disrupting category launch for Draft Chocolate Milk

Situation // La Colombe is launching a new product into grocery.

Finding// People have strong expectations for chocolate milk tastes.

Opportunity// Change the expectation for chocolate milk.

Positioning // Draft Chocolate Milk is a delicate dark chocolate delight.

What did I do?

This was my capstone project. All of the thinking is my own with the help of wonderful advisors and wonderful clients.

Situation: What's happening in Chocolate Milk?


La Colombe is a the leader in the 3rd wave coffee movement, currently operating out of 30 cafes and through national distribution in the United States. I conducted 7 brand perception interviews and discovered that people know La Colombe for consistently delivering on quality and innovation.


The chocolate milk category is projected to grow over the next few years and non traditional chocolate brands are growing the category. 

Other chocolate industries (chocolate confectionary and hot chocolate) are moving to quality indulgence and health focused products.


Chocolate milk is made for children. The marketing, lactose content and high sugar all reinforce that, but not with La Colombe's new product.

But there are clear consumption habits when consume chocolate milk. People drink chocolate milk as a drink on the go or as a drink by themselves.


Expectations of Chocolate Milk

People have clear expectations when it comes to what chocolate milk should taste like. When you say “chocolate milk” people expect sweet, creamy, and rich. Draft Chocolate milk is lighter and less sweet. 

When tested next to chocolate milk, Draft Chocolate Milk did not meet expectations.

Expectations are Unclear

I did a blind taste test where participants did not even know the type of beverage I was sampling. This resulted in descriptions like “Chocolatey, but not overwhelmingly so” or “Chocolate milk with a hint of coffee.”

During a blind taste tests I had participants use the tool on the right to describe the taste. Out of all 14 participants the only words selected were Chocolate-like, malt-like, nut-like, mild, delicate, soft and mellow.

Expectations of La Colombe Brand

I had a group of participants drink a full can of Draft Chocolate Milk and answer a series of questions. When participants saw the brand and packaging while drinking the product, expectations shifted.

“It has a very subtle chocolate flavor that is still able to really pack a punch.”

“A bit nutty with some subtle cocoa notes. I like that it is not too sweet.” 

“Most chocolate milks are rich and creamy, but Draft Chocolate Milk is light and smooth — in a good way. I typically drink chocolate milk at night or early in the morning. But I’d drink Draft Chocolate Milk during the day, on the go. It’s very refreshing.” 


The opportunity for Draft Chocolate Milk is to change and elevate the expectations for Chocolate Milk. 

Draft Chocolate Milk Is...

Dark Chocolate

Light and Smooth



Subtly Sweet

Draft Chocolate Milk Is Not...

Milk Chocolate

Rich and Creamy



Strikingly Sugary

Product Positioning

Delicate Dark Chocolate Delight

Grocery Store Placement

What is the story we want to tell?


“I liked the can and the shape. It definitely looks elevated and you wouldn’t feel childish for drinking it in public.” -  Research Participant

Power of Brand

60% of  people surveyed were more likely to try the product because of the La Colombe brand.


Research participants expected this product to costs $3.79 on average and expected the other chocolate milk products to cost less than $3.32. 

My recommendation: 
Draft Chocolate Milk needs to be placed in the convenience/impulse coolers within grocery stores and launched regionally in the Mid-Atlantic.

[This rest of case study is NDA protected, but can discuss further on a call.]

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