Israel's Tara Dairies last week launched what it claims to be the first dairy in the world to produce milk drinks mixed with alcohol, "aiming to reach the young consumers audience, between the ages of 18 and 28," according to Amit Raz, Tara marketing manager.

The new milk drinks, with three exotic flavours - chocolate-orange, chocolate-coconut and vanilla-pina colada, contain just 2% alcohol are said to "represent the new trend in the world of soft alcoholic drinks targeted for consumers who dislike 'real' alcoholic drinks."

The new product, called XTRA MOOOOD, marketed in supermarket chains, retail stores and in kiosks, aims to cut into the beer and energy drinks niche.

Sales of beer in Israel amount to US$100m per year, and sales of energy drinks account for US$70m per year. Raz said that Tara aims to reach sales revenues from its XTRA MOOOOD to the tune of between US$60m and US$70m per year.

Tara Dairies, a private company established in 1942 owned by the 35 founding families, is Israel's third largest dairy with total annual sales amounting to US$120m.

By Aaron Priel, correspondent