Guest Columns

Cheese Marketing

The triple value of real dairy foods

Jennifer Giambroni

Jennifer Giambroni, vice president of communications for the California Milk Advisory Board, is a guest columnist for Cheese Market News®.

June Dairy Month. Show season. Summer celebrations. It’s the trifecta of dairy, and we’re running to keep up. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and we look forward to being on the big stage to promote the real deal and what it brings to the table.

In a time when food costs are consuming a bigger portion of our budgets, amplifying the true value of real milk and dairy seems even more essential. And dairy is a triple threat when it comes to value — monetarily, nutritionally and emotionally. This is why, even though the competitors keep knocking on the door, real dairy remains an essential part of how we live and how we eat. And we’re working hard to keep it that way.

Nothing tastes like real dairy, nothing performs in formulations like real dairy and nothing delivers the nutrients of real dairy (I feel like I should sing this to the tune of Gaston’s song from Beauty & the Beast). We’ll see this all on display at IDDBA — including What’s in Store Live and the California dairy pavilion — and in ongoing promotional efforts throughout the summer.

With social media trends continuing to drive consumer retail and foodservice purchases, expect to see your favorites rolled out in a variety of interesting and intriguing iterations. In addition to individual processors, cheese expert Joe Baird will be in the Real California Kitchen showcasing exhibitor products in dishes featuring global mashups with flavors from Italy, Mexico, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines to the latest trends like croffles, hand pies and endless explorations of what can be done with cottage cheese, which retains its superstar status for yet another year.

We’re also welcoming Real California Milk Excelerator alumni to the booth again this year as we officially kick off the search for the next round of startups. This year’s focus on health and wellness is especially relevant as consumers look to food for nourishment and as medicine to address physical and emotional well-being.

We regularly bang the drums about dairy’s 13 essential nutrients and are excited about the latest science shared by National Dairy Council on the role dairy plays in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life (even more important today as parents explore moving away from real milk and dairy), but it’s the concept of the food matrix and the idea that foods should be viewed in the context of their whole package versus individual nutrients that has us really jazzed.

Product innovators continue to invest in formulating with real dairy because they understand the value it brings. And it continues to be important to communicate the shared values our industry has with consumers — not only in providing foods that taste great and nourish their bodies but that are produced in an environmentally responsible manner. Sustainability isn’t a nice to have, it is an expectation. The dairy industry has a proven track record of continuous improvement to support our messages.

In November, we debuted our poo power video breaking through to consumers with information about how dairy farmers are turning cow waste into renewable fuels. This edutainment approach is becoming increasingly important as consumers are overloaded with information (and misinformation). This month we’ll debut a new installation in the series showing how the natural intelligence of a dairy cow’s digestive system allows cows to upcycle byproducts from food and agriculture production, keeping them from the waste stream while offsetting additional energy, water and land needs for growing feed. California cows alone are keeping 15K tons of byproducts out of landfills a day — something to celebrate!

We’re continuing to promote the goodness of dairy with our Summer Snacking campaign and in July with the introduction of the third edition of the California Freestyle campaign, which focuses on how real dairy makes you feel. It’s the extra little pep in your step or wiggle of joy when you enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich or take the first lick off an ice cream cone. This is the emotional value of dairy. It has a special place in our diets and in our lives — the celebrations we enjoy together and the little moments of indulgence when we are on our own.

You’ll see those extra wiggles of joy this week at IDDBA and throughout Dairy Month as we discover new products and new opportunities to touch the lives of consumers with the goodness of real.


The views expressed by CMN’s guest columnists are their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheese Market News®.

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