Seki Milk, a Gifu-based provider of milk and other dairy-based products to local schools, had long been dealing with an inconvenient truth. A large majority of students—65%, according to their own research— weren’t finishing their milk. This was leading to food loss but also a decrease in calcium and other nutrients the kids needed to grow. But getting schools to implement any kind of strict rule also felt wrong. The answer, it turned out, was in comics.
In Japan, school lunch milk is served in glass jars, unlike the paper cartons you might be used to seeing in the west. Taking advantage of the transparent properties of the glass packaging, Seki Milk teamed up with ad agency VOJ and comic book illustrator amiakihiko to create an original comic series that would be printed in white ink. The “milk manga” comic series is invisible at first but as the milk is consumed, the comic panels become visible.
Instead of creating new rules, or enforcing any kind of behavior, the Milk Manga project created an environment that encouraged healthy behavior through curiosity and reading, and got kids thinking about food loss as well.