Higher Milk Sales a Click Away; Kerry Opens Innovation and Technical Center; Higher Milk Sales a Click Away

World Dairy Expo Arrives This Month

World Dairy Expo 2009, which takes places Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Madison, Wis., is the international meeting place for the dairy industry where attendees will find the latest in technology, equipment, supplies, research and more. This year’s “Legendary” theme celebrates the renowned people, cows and trade shows that have brought the world’s dairy industry together each fall for the past 43 years. 

A highlight of the Expo is the annual Championship Dairy Product Contest and the auction of the winning entries on Sept. 29. This year, the contest includes an even wider variety of dairy products, including cheese, ice cream, cultured products, whipping cream, sherbet, buttermilk, non-fat dried milk, butter, whey and fluid milk, as well as an innovative category. Two grand champion awards will be presented, one for cheese and butter (sponsored by Cheese Market News) and another for Grade A products and ice cream (sponsored by Dairy Foods).

A portion of the auction proceeds will be used to fund the Dr. Robert Bradley Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

Visit www.world-dairy-expo.com for information, including registration, photos, maps and visitor information.

Kerry Opens Innovation and Technical Center

Kerry opened its new $50 million Innovation and Technical Center in Beloit, Wis., to organize product commercialization and bring together its business management and shared services, research, development and applications teams under one roof.

The new 250,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center was christened by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, along with Kerry Group Chief Executive Officer Stan McCarthy, the company’s board of directors, customers and employees.

In response to the Ireland-based company’s methodology in meeting customer-specific innovation requirements and product solutions to the American food and beverage industries, the center will provide access to Kerry’s ingredients and flavor technologies through its customer application suites, culinary theatres, sensory services and customer application pilot production facilities. Additionally, the facility houses 21 R&D labs with 200 food scientists, an indoor fitness center and a fully equipped cafeteria. The center employs nearly 550 workers.

Furthermore, the Kerry Center received the “Designed to Earn the Energy Star” award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy for its green efforts in saving money and protecting the environment through its energy-efficient products and practices. The center was also given a “Wisconsin Focus on Energy” grant and is pursuing leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Higher Milk Sales a Click Away

Boost your brand equity in 2010 with the National Milk Mustache ‘got milk?’ Campaign Traveling around the country speaking with processors, one thing is clear: Processors want easy access to off-the-shelf, exciting “got milk?” marketing materials to help drive sales and build equity in their local brands. And now you have it, right on your desktop.

MilkPEP.org has everything you need to drive milk sales in retail, schools and local marketing. Best of all, it’s all free because it’s part of the MilkPEP program that you already own. At MilkPEP.org, you can access the national campaign and promotion details, sign-up dates, competitive data, even download and customize materials – everything you need to help sell more milk.

Many processors are experiencing the success of the national campaign at work for them on a local level. We’ve seen evidence of these marketing programs making a difference in sales and overall brand awareness every year – especially in entries for the MilkPEP Awards. No matter how small or big the marketing budget, processors are putting the equity of the national program to work for them. You can too by taking advantage of the many features offered at MilkPEP.org including an abundance of research, retail promotion materials, and branded labeling and packaging ideas as well as a variety of advertising, public relations and grassroots support available for almost all your business needs.

It is more important than ever to promote and differentiate your brand. Linking to the national program through customization is a great way to harness the momentum on everything from POS to packaging.

Over the past year, I have listened as processors in the field articulated a need for fully customizable POS. We are excited to now offer an online customization tool that enables processors to import logos, product images and price points into template POS materials. From the milkpep.org homepage, it’s simple to access the tool that allows you to customize POS materials including shelf-talkers, static clings, banners and wobblers. The real-time interface allows you to see each change as it is made.

Savvy consumers are reading labels and making decisions at retail based on nutrition and wellness claims.  And I’m sure you realize your nutrition competition is not just beverages anymore.  Yogurts and cereals - even macaroni and cheese as well as a variety of calcium-fortified foods - are all vying to take milk’s place as the premier source for calcium and vitamin D. All of these products are aggressively marketing their nutritional health benefits and “kid appeal” through smart packaging and labeling. 

At milkpep.org, the labeling claims section now features competitive information to help you understand your competition plus a robust stockpile of labeling claims you can use to help position milk as the natural wellness drink.  For example, you can remind Mom that milk is an excellent source of calcium and that the vitamin D in milk helps build strong bones..  Using the labels available, you can tell teens who are considering energy drinks that milk is a natural source of phosphorous, a mineral that keeps the body energized; or tell the older population that the potassium in milk helps maintain normal blood circulation. Even tell athletes that drinking chocolate milk within two hours of physical exercise can help refuel their muscles.

It’s time to claim the white space on milk packaging by utilizing the many FDA-approved claims that are currently available.  And milkpep.org provides samples of how to make these claims work on your existing packaging – everything from school milk cartons and single serve to gallon jugs.

“Get More From MilkPEP” has become a very popular area of the site in recent months.  It is here that we share success stories from other processors.  Come see how your peers have used their MilkPEP programs to grow sales in retail channels, their local schools, even at a variety of grassroots events. 

We have all bought gifts and gadgets online. I know for me, online shopping saves time and makes it easy for me to compare products and look for good deals. Did you know that you can order MilkPEP marketing materials online? It’s fast, secure and – best of all - easy! From the homepage, you can quickly go to the online catalog and shop for a variety of MilkPEP marketing materials that can amp up your marketing efforts.

Fresh on the heels of the National Dairy Sales & Marketing meeting in Cleveland, it’s time to step up your marketing and look ahead to the new promotions and programs in 2010. Add power to your marketing program by signing on and utilizing the many exciting resources and tools available at milkpep.org. All of these tools are easy to use and free for processors. We will continue to look for new innovations that help processors boost milk sales through interaction in the field.

Call me any time to discuss ideas or make suggestions. I want to hear from you because it’s processor input – based on usage of these tools in the field – that make them work.  

Mike Simmons is director of processor relations for the Milk Processor Education Program.