Attendees at the 2009 Worldwide Food Expo will get a first look at the “Dairy Department of the Future” in a presentation showcasing results of a three-year, dairy farmer-funded project that will help shape the future of the retail dairy aisle.

Dairy Department of the Future proves that a revitalized dairy aisle can increase dollar sales by 1.5% and dairy unit sales by 2-3%. The reinvented dairy department not only makes it easier to shop, but also educates and engages shoppers while optimizing space.

Dairy Department Reinvention: Path to Growth and Differentiation will be presented by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Willard Bishop LLC, on Friday, Oct. 30, 8-9 a.m. at the Worldwide Food Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago, room S402A.

“The dairy industry continually explores innovative ways to increase demand for naturally nutrient-rich dairy products,” says Thomas P. Gallagher, chief executive officer of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy check-off program on behalf of the nation’s dairy farmers. “That’s why we worked with industry partners to re-imagine how dairy is merchandised at retail. After comprehensive testing and research, it’s clear that there is a significant opportunity for the dairy industry and retailers alike to increase dairy department sales by as much as $1 billion over a one-year period.”

In 2006, DMI, The Dannon Co. and Kraft Foods formed a coalition to focus on a “shopper-centric” approach that would grow overall retail dairy department sales. The coalition learned that in a reinvented dairy department, shoppers spend more time in the aisle, have a more enjoyable shopping experience, and are more likely to purchase additional items overall.

According to coalition research, customers who include dairy in their purchase spend more time in the store and more money at a substantially faster rate as compared with most shoppers. For example, the average shopper spends 19 minutes in a store and spends $25 on their total purchase, while milk buyers spend 26 minutes in a store and spend $45.20 on their total purchase.

The coalition analyzed 343,000 shopping trips, audited 22,000 retail grocery stores, spoke with 2,500 consumers and implemented category and total dairy aisle reinvention efforts in more than 1,000 stores. Results of space optimization as well as category and total dairy reinvention have shown that dairy unit sales can be increased by more than 2%.

Shoppers described their experiences in the reinvented dairy department more favorably than before the enhancements. They said they liked how the new department was presented, believed the changes made shopping easier and indicated that the new look created a more welcoming experience.

At the Worldwide Food Expo, Paul Weitzel, managing partner, Willard Bishop LLC; David Bishop, managing partner, Balvor; and Scott Dissinger, senior vice president, DMI, will discuss benefits of dairy aisle redevelopment, including the opportunity to create differentiation and build sales. Their presentation will offer a sneak preview of some of the best practices and design principles that have shown results in this ongoing initiative.

In addition to the presentation, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is speaking on a range of other business-critical topics, including Is Your Company Crisis-Ready?; Dairy Products: Health and Wellness in a Package; and International Dairy Market.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy also is sponsoring the Expo’s Sustainability Pavilion, which will include presentations by dairy industry leaders about how to implement new and sustainable practices that make good business sense. Dairy2020, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s interactive booth, will offer processors, manufacturers, suppliers and others in the dairy industry information on cutting costs, growing revenues and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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