Bringing checkoff partnerships to life

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Midwest Dairy is committed to working with and through partners to positively impact dairy sales and build trust in dairy foods and dairy farmers with consumers. As a checkoff organization, our work is centered on bringing dairy to life for consumers through various strategies, programs and priorities across the 10-state region. We also have a duty to ensure that dairy farmers are aware of checkoff efforts and resources as we build trust and sales. Recently, Midwest Dairy, in partnership with Dairy Management Inc., brought some of our foodservice and innovation partnerships regionally and nationally to life with a taste-and-learn session allowing farmers to enjoy a hands-on experience during the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  
The taste-and-learn session featured four checkoff partners: Taco Bell, DARI LLC, General Mills and Pizza Ranch. Each of these partners featured samples of innovative dairy products that consumers enjoy today and information allowing farmers to learn more about the “why” behind each partnership, including the opportunity for dairy. These products ranged from cheesy breadsticks to innovative beverages to new varieties of yogurt that meet consumers’ needs for convenience and nutrition on the go.
This session provided dairy farmers with more than a tasting experience by allowing farmers to see how checkoff insights and research can translate to product innovation and sales opportunities working with the right partners. For example, coffee is popular among U.S. consumers, but specifically, iced coffee has grown in popularity. The total number of iced coffee drinking occasions was 134.2 million in 2021, up from 91.6 million in 2017, with the average iced coffee consumer having 3.1 beverages per week. This research demonstrates that this growing trend of iced coffee consumption presents many opportunities for dairy with consumers of all ages.
Through this event, farmers also had conversations about how these partnerships impact dairy sales. Attendees had the chance to engage with some of the talented people behind the partnerships, including dairy scientists, dairy processors, brands managers, and national and regional checkoff staff.     
Attendees truly got to see that behind every partnership is a commitment from both partners and checkoff to bring dairy to life in new and compelling ways.
Checkoff will continue to work with partners on menu and product innovation while also allowing partners to tap into checkoff research, consumer marketing and insights on consumer trends to grow dairy sales. Our partners are encouraged to use checkoff as a resource to help them build demand. Midwest Dairy also had a booth hosted by Midwest Dairy regional staff at the Central Plain Dairy Expo, where lots of great conversations about checkoff resources were had.
Midwest Dairy is always eager to meet our farmers face to face and discuss checkoff initiatives. This unique experience allowed us to not only have conversations but also allow for a hands-on experience that checkoff dollars have helped to create and promote. Midwest Dairy remains committed to bringing dairy to life for consumers through various strategies, programs and priorities. We look forward to future opportunities to engage with dairy farmers to share the impact of their checkoff investment nationally, regionally and locally.

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