Midwest Dairy relies heavily on current consumer research and insights to help us develop annual strategies and action plans that positively impact sales and trust across our 10-state region. Research shows that when consumer sentiment toward the dairy industry as a whole is positive, consumers are more likely to make dairy purchasing decisions when at the dairy case. For this reason, Midwest Dairy works with partners with a large consumer audience, including the targeted audiences of Generation Z and their parents, to build trust in and around dairy.
In Nebraska, one significant event in which a diverse audience of Gen Z and and their parents gather is at the NCAA Men’s College World Series. The College World Series is an annual baseball tournament held in June in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a national event with an annual reach of just over 300,000 attendees from across the country, making it a unique opportunity for dairy to share its story with a large crowd. For the second year, Midwest Dairy has had an on-site presence to engage with consumers through a variety of opportunities to learn more about dairy and even sample some dairy products.
The Midwest Dairy booth was stationed in the Omaha Baseball Village venue, celebrating the opening ceremony and the first five days of the two-week tournament. The booth brought to life the Midwest dairy farmers’ story highlighting the unique wellness benefits of dairy and the farmers’ dedication to caring for the planet and their cows. Activities in the booth encouraged consumers to stop by and spin the dairy trivia wheel or drop a Plinko chip to answer dairy-related nutrition and sustainability questions. We were sure to pick activities that encouraged learning while allowing families to have fun. Dairy treats were also available to sample, thanks to a generous donation by processors. More than 1,000 Hiland chocolate milk pints, 4,000 Crystal Farms cheese sticks and 500 LALA drinkable yogurts were enjoyed by attendees throughout the week. Consumers could stop by to snap a photo in the ice cream cone cutouts as well.
Back by popular demand from the previous year, Jason and Jodi Cast, of JJC Jerseys, brought two dairy calves, appropriately named Babe and Ruth, for the crowd to interact with. These calves were a huge hit and the real stars of the booth. For many visiting the College World Series, these were some of the first farm animals they had ever seen in person and provided a truly memorable dairy experience. Dairy farmer Jodi Cast was available to share information with consumers about cow care and sustainability and answer other questions that arose. The Undeniably Dairy booth was even highlighted in a news segment promoting the Omaha Baseball Village Hero Day where Hero Jimmy was seen interacting with our calves.
Volunteering in the booth were dairy farmers and advocates Mary Temme, Nebraska division board chair; Lowell Mueller, past Nebraska division board member along with his wife, Lois, and sister, Vickie Gilligan; Jen and Brooke Hilgenkamp of Hilgenkamp Farms Inc.; and three Midwest Dairy ambassadors, Abby Langdon, Jenna Albers and Kaitlyn Hanson, who served as on-site experts and interacted with consumers answering all questions. A special thank you to this group for volunteering their time and expertise.
I enjoy finding unique ways to get dairy involved across Nebraska and truly believe it is events like these that shine a positive spotlight on the dairy industry and the many delicious dairy products we have to offer. Reaching this vast consumer base with a unique experience helps to bring dairy to the forefront while educating consumers on important topics and giving them a taste of the dairy products they love. We are excited to bring dairy back to the ballpark as we begin to plan for the 2024 College World Series.