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Dairy and Food Production Transparency

There are many consumer research studies available today which indicate that consumers want transparency in their food production. The research has concluded: they want to know who is producing their food; they want to know the animals were well taken care of in the production of their food; they want to know the natural resources were also protected in the production of their food; and they are very interested in fresh and locally produced foods.

As a representative of the dairy community, this information is very important to me and the consulting work I do with retailers to help them sell more dairy products. The production of dairy products fulfills consumers’ desires for transparency in food production and their desire for fresh and local foods. It’s a perfect story for retailers to share with their shoppers.

I am going to address these consumer points of interest on dairy and food production transparency and the role dairy plays in fulfilling each. It’s important for me to explain that I am offering my opinion as a mom, who is also concerned about what I feed my family. The fact that I work for the dairy industry, has allowed me the benefit of a front row seat to learn about these issues first hand.

1. Who produces dairy products?

Dairy products are produced using milk from family owned dairy farms. Did you know, regardless of size, 98% of all dairy farms are family owned?

2.Are the animals cared for in the production of dairy products?

Related: 3 Reasons to Consume Dairy Products

Yes! Nearly 98% of the milk supply comes from dairy farms which have been F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) certified, which is a program of NMPF (National Milk Producers Federation). This program requires dairy farmers to follow a strict protocol to ensure dairy farm animals are cared for in a humane way. For more info on F.A.R.M., visit http://www.nationaldairyfarm.com/ . Farmers are well educated and have learned how to best care for and treat their animals. As a result, cows are more comfortable and therefore actually produce more milk. Farmers produce more milk from fewer cows today than they did in the 1950’s.

3. Is milk local?

Milk is the most local food available in a grocery store. On average, milk comes from a farm about 100 miles away and left that farm about 48 hours prior to being on the store shelf. This happens 365 days a year. When I share this fact with senior level executives with retailers, without exception, they have shared with me, that they did not know this fact about milk. Our discussion immediately turns to one of creating strategy to communicate this important fact to their shoppers.

The research findings are clear and dairy products are a fit for consumers’ needs: How might you incorporate this consumer research into your communication and merchandising strategy in your stores? Visit our website to download a copy of our “Dairy Reimagined” resource guide book for ideas. https://www.midwestdairy.com/dairy-resource-center/retailers-and-processors/

About Cindy Sorensen

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Founder and CEO of The Grocery Group developing leadership in purpose, people and products. Member of the Board of Directors of Women Grocers of America and former Vice President of Business Development for the Midwest Dairy Association. A professional with 30 years of experience in the grocery industry with an extensive knowledge of the dairy sector.

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