The fall season is a time for friends and families to reconnect with one another, usually around a holiday meal where discussions and even friendly debates are part of the occasion. The fall also is a time for people to reconnect with those who help make that holiday meal possible, including America’s dairy farmers.
This spirit of connection is the impetus behind the fall programming for the Undeniably Dairy campaign, created by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), Rosemont, Ill., which manages the national dairy checkoff. A key part of this strategy is giving consumers who are generations removed from the farm an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with dairy farmers, DMI said.
“We know through consumer research that people are always looking for ways to reconnect during the fall and holidays, not just with their families and friends, but even to where their food comes from,” said Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer for DMI. “This is our opportunity to help people to reconnect with our farmers and the dairy community behind the real, nutrient-rich and responsibly produced dairy foods they love.”
DMI said the Undeniably Dairy campaign was launched last year to unite the entire community in sharing with consumers that dairy is responsibly produced, locally driven and nutrient-rich, as well as provides real enjoyment.
The fall program includes content showcasing the unique stories of individuals within the community who are devoted to dairy and their communities, DMI noted. There will be events aimed at reaching consumers and allowing them to engage with dairy farmers, including two in New York City. There, dairy farmers will be part of a “food truck experience” at the Grand Central Food Festival on Oct. 12 and at Times Square Expo on Oct. 13. A food truck will feature a chef and dairy farmers providing chocolate milk and grilled cheese sandwiches to attendees.
Each event will include opportunities for consumers to meet farmers, including a 5-foot-tall “Connect Four with a Farmer” game. This takeoff of the classic game features dairy-themed discs (cheese, crops, barns, etc.) that will allow people to have conversations with farmers about subjects such as nutrition, sustainability and cow care, DMI said.
A 7-foot-tall glass of chocolate milk and life-size cow statues — ideal for photos to be shared on social media — also will be on-site, along with other activities.
Another campaign moment will be National Farmers Day on Oct. 12. National Farmers Day provides an opportunity to connect with consumers on social media and showcase the real farmers and stories behind the dairy foods people love, DMI said.
“This is a day where we can rally the entire dairy community and be proud of who we are and what our farmers do,” Engelmann said. “People will be thanking farmers across the country, and it presents an opportunity for dairy farmers to post their story and share what is real about them, their farm and their family. People will connect the milk that’s on their table to an actual person.”
In addition to the social media rally, Undeniably Dairy will capture media attention with celebrity Mario Lopez, who is passionate about connecting family around delicious, nutritious foods that fuel, including dairy. Also, a satellite media tour featuring “Iron Chef” Marc Forgione and New York dairy farmer Nate Chittenden will drive home dairy’s farm-to-table message, DMI said.
Marilyn Hershey, DMI chair and Pennsylvania dairy farmer, said the fall Undeniably Dairy strategy of bringing people and farmers together will make a needed connection.
“We know that when people visit our dairy farms, they often walk away with an appreciation and understanding for the work we do,” Hershey said. “It isn’t realistic for everyone to get out to a farm, but the New York events and social content will be effective ways for our farmers to meet consumers where they are.”