Three food industry recurrences in 2003 are keeping the pages of Dairy Foods' packed with timely, constructive information for dairy marketers to grow their business. That's something not many trades can claim in these continued slow economic times.
The first recurrence is that Chicago, home to most of Dairy Foods' staff, is hosting almost every major food industry trade show this year, which makes it convenient for us to stay on top of the latest and greatest. During the six-month period that began May 4 with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) meeting and ends November 1 with Worldwide Food Expo, I will have spent more days at McCormick Place than hours in an airplane, which is a real change from the same period last year. Sandwiched between these events are a variety of shows including the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, a focus for this issue of Dairy Foods.
The second recurrence--the increasing importance of the kids' food and beverage market--is one that became very apparent in sunny Tampa in March. (Special thanks go to IDFA for not hosting Smart Marketing in Chicago.) At this annual meeting, dairy marketers spent an afternoon learning from kid marketing experts who later provided me with more details on this important consumer segment. (These insights can be found in the Tools for Innovation supplement in this issue.)
The opportunities in the growing kids' market were evident in several new product entries at various spring food shows. Wells' Dairy Inc., Le Mars, Iowa, debuted a line of Disney refrigerated yogurts and frozen desserts (see page xx). International Dairy Queen Inc. (IDQ), Minneapolis, unveiled its limited-time, special treat program that is developed by and for tweens, that 8- to 12- year old demographic that's brimming with buying potential (see page 24).
The third recurrence is innovation. It's the main topic of this month's lead stories, and it's reflected in the theme of this year's IFT: Navigating Change -- Sound Science, Common Sense and a Spark of Innovation. As Dairy Management Inc.'s Vice President of Business-to-Business Marketing Bill Haines recently said, "Why innovate? It's simple. Times change. Nothing stands still."
Dairy Foods and DMI feel so strongly about the importance of innovation, that we have teamed up to bring you a series of supplements entitled Tools for Innovation. The focus of innovation in the inaugural supplement found in this June issue of Dairy Foods is that very important consumer group--tweens--as well as their predecessors, pre-tweens.
Tweens become teens, a segment of focus for the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), as teens make almost all of their own beverages choices. MilkPEP is making sure that teens are aware of the innovative new flavors of milk available, while reminding them that milk is nutritious and cool. MilkPEP is doing this by marketing milk in ways it's never been marketed before--ways that connect with teens. The good news is that these efforts are paying off. For the second year in a row, per capita teen milk consumption has grown--from 22.0 gallons in 2001 to 23.5 gallons a year later.
Just like in the reality TV series, survivors in the dairy industry do not conform to convention. To survive, you must innovate.