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Checkoff Watch: Evolving to meet consumers’ needs in the future

Contributed by Barbara O’Brien Published on 31 March 2020

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The only constant in life is change,” and today’s dynamic global landscape certainly reflects that sentiment.

From evolving expectations around the food consumers choose to global thought-leader dialogues focused on finding solutions to growing climate change concerns, the marketplace and opportunity for dairy is changing.

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Change, while different and sometimes uncomfortable, can be good if we – as dairy – take advantage of the opportunity. By focusing the checkoff investment on strategic priorities that have the greatest impact to evolve how we engage, we can keep dairy as a relevant – and even vital – part of people’s lives.

Our priorities for 2020-23

The 2020 Unified Marketing Plan, which ties together your national, state and regional checkoff work, is the first step in a multiyear journey focused on three business priorities: building trust and relevance with consumers and youth, positioning dairy and farmers as leaders in providing sustainable nutrition to the world and accelerating sales growth.

Build trust in youth and the ‘conflicted health seeker’

You’ve seen it and heard it: Consumers today, young and old, express concerns about the environment, where their food comes from and how it’s produced, starting at the farm. A recent report by the Hartman Group shows that 70% of adults indicated they make purchasing decisions based on sustainability at least some of the time. And we’ve seen the environment and climate change become a rallying cry for youth around the globe.

Young people and a subset of consumers referred to as “conflicted health seekers” are key to dairy’s future and, increasingly, have influence in shaping the perceptions of others.

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Dairy has a great story to tell – from the nutritional value that fuels wellness at any age to farmers’ shared commitment to care for the land, animals and communities. This year, dairy’s story will come to life in new, innovative ways as we reach targeted consumers through ongoing executions of the “Undeniably Dairy” campaign.

Position U.S. dairy in a global food system

In addition to shaping consumers’ perceptions, climate considerations are dominating global nutrition and sustainability policy discussions.

Your investment in the science deepens dairy’s nutrition and wellness benefits, reinforces U.S. dairy’s leadership globally and progress in reducing environmental impacts and showcases the contributions to communities. It’s important that thought leaders, media and other key decision-makers hear our voices from across the U.S. dairy community, including farmers, processors and customers.

Accelerate incremental sales growth

The farmers on our board, representing dairy families across the country, directed us to work with and through industry and commercial partners to make fundamental consumer-driven changes in how dairy is offered. Today, we’re helping move billions of incremental pounds of dairy through global leaders such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Kroger and others, offering consumers new and innovative dairy choices.

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In addition to menu and dairy product innovation, our partners use their marketing channels to share dairy’s sustainable nutrition story.

In the years ahead, we will build upon our success in foodservice and in retail while we identify emerging growth and product innovation opportunities with new players.

Working together for you

As checkoff staff, we are proud to work for dairy farmers across our country who put food on our families’ tables and take care of our land. In developing a framework for our 2020-23 Unified Marketing Plan, our mandate is to focus not only on what we need to do to grow trust and drive sales but on how we do it to have the greatest impact.

Over the past 18 months, national, state and regional and international staff have worked as one team to create a unified framework and plan that builds from a strong foundation around growth-oriented partnerships, social and environmental responsibility, and investments in scientific research and integrated marketing. This is not about a revolutionary new plan but rather one with greater focus and prioritized investment.

It’s a checkoff plan driving dairy’s long-term relevance and sales, not just here but around the world. end mark

Any thoughts or questions? Contact us at We are your Dairy Checkoff.

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy farmers and dairy importers. DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.

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