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Rapunzel has a silo, not a tower

Alisa Anderson Published on 29 June 2009

Wearing her sparkling tiara and white sash over a red T-shirt, Minnesota’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way Kristy Mussman passed out dairy products from behind a table in the dairy aisle of a local grocery store.

Her attire stopped a 4-year-old girl who was shopping with her mother. The girl asked, “Are you a real princess?”

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Mussman recognized this question as an opportunity to tell about the dairy producers that she had come to the store to represent that day. She told the girl, “Yeah, I’m a real princess. You know how Rapunzel could throw her long hair down from her tower? Well, my castle and my tower are a little bit different. My big tower is actually a silo filled with the food and fiber our cows eat every day. My castle is a white house on a hill, and we create so many fun memories together as a family. We work together as a team to give you the milk you love on your cereal, the ice cream you love on a hot summer day and the cheese you love on your cheeseburger.”

Mussman visited three Cub Foods stores in Minnesota as part of a chain-wide promotion of dairy producers and dairy products. She was one of 52 producers and eight dairy princesses to participate in the event. Cub Foods, which operates 73 stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin, partnered with the Midwest Dairy Association to plan and produce a dairy promotion event called Cub4Kids that was held June 13.

“Beyond looking at involvement and items that would give us a short-term gain in sales, we really want to look at sustainable messages to consumers that will build consumption of dairy. This was a perfect opportunity. Even though it was a one-time event during the month of June, it allows us to get out a sustainable message to consumers that should impact consumption,” says Cindy Sorensen, director of retail for MDA.

The main attraction of the event was the presence of a dairy producer in 43 stores. The producers were stationed in the dairy aisle with a Cub Foods store employee who handed out samples of cheese, crackers and frozen yogurt. The producers were there to answer questions, pass out recipes and offer children milk and bags of promotional items, such as pencils, crayons, coloring sheets and a bookmark.

The Cub Foods store in Buffalo, Minnesota, created a poster about Charles Krause and his father, who are dairy farmers near Buffalo. The store plans to keep it posted throughout the summer.

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“Some of the literature talked about how dairy farmers are caretakers of animals and responsible stewards of the land. We wanted consumers to see that there are people behind this product at the grocery store; it doesn’t just show up,” Krause says.

Jean Annexstad, a producer who visited the Bloomington, Minnesota, store felt that people responded very positively.

“A lot of these people would tell us that they had a tie to a farm in one way or another and seemed pretty familiar with the fact that we do take good care of our animals. But there were others who asked a few more questions,” she says.

Another promotion poster, entitled “From Farm, to Food, to You,” was posted in all the Cub stores. As its name implies, it briefly detailed the steps it took for milk to get from the dairy producer to the store.

County and state dairy princesses helped out at numerous locations. They talked to the kids and gave them temporary tattoos and stickers that read, “I met a dairy farmer today.”

“I was more of the facts, they were more of the fun,” Krause says of the dairy princesses.

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Wearing her tiara and sash, Mussman says being a princess really attracted the children. She tells of one little girl that she spoke with as she was leaving one of the stores. “I said, ‘You need three servings of milk, cheese and yogurt.’ And she turned to her mom and asked, ‘Do we have milk, cheese and yogurt at home? Because she says we need them!’” Mussman recalls.

There were several activities for the children. One store had a coloring contest. At every store children could get a milk mustache picture of themselves to take home. They were given a thick milk shake to drink, and then they had their picture taken in front of a “Got milk?” background.

“The children wanted to know how many cows were on our farm. A lot of them asked about the baby calves. One mom was especially proud that her child could tell me that milk came from a cow’s udder. But that was the exception. Most of them didn’t know that many details,” Annexstad says.

The event turned out to be a positive experience for the producers who participated. “Interacting with people and seeing that they had a good time enjoying dairy products, that was probably what was most memorable for me,” Krause says.

Being stationed in the dairy products aisle, Annexstad watched the store employees restock the dairy shelves. “It was just a joy to see how many healthy, high-quality dairy products Cub Foods was selling. They kept coming out with big pallets of dairy products, cheese and milk and yogurt, and I thought, wow, people really do enjoy our products. To me it was a very fulfilling experience. I would encourage other producers to do something like this,” she says. PD

Progressive Dairyman
Staff Writer
Alisa Anderson

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