Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., and St. Paul, Minn.-based Midwest Dairy announced the agenda for the second annual Dairy Experience Forum, which will be held July 16-18 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul. The two-day forum will convene the entire supply chain — including farmers, processors, cooperatives, dietitians, retailers and dairy ambassadors — to learn about disruptive, forward-thinking trends and how the industry could collaborate to build dairy demand nationwide and globally.

“With more than 95% of the world’s population outside of the United States, it is more important than ever to understand dairy’s opportunities to reach global consumers,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

Vilsak will provide one of the forum’s keynotes, the organizations said.

Building on the success of last year’s live consumer focus group, during which attendees listened to and observed adult consumers discuss their food preferences, the 2019 forum will also feature a similar event. However, all panelists will represent Generation Z, which boasts $44 billion in purchasing power. Nearly 50% of 18- to 21-year-olds participate in their household’s grocery shopping, the organizations noted, so it’s critical for the dairy industry to take a close look at how Generation Z makes purchasing decisions and eating choices.

“Understanding youth culture provides valuable clues on the food, health and snacking trends that will drive profitable sales growth,” said Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast.

In addition to serving as the opening speaker, Fromm will facilitate the Generation Z live consumer focus group.

Key speaker highlights, the organizations said, include:

  • Vilsack will share how USDEC is addressing ways U.S. dairy products can better meet the needs and preferences of international consumers.
  • Innovation expert and former Google executive Steve Lerch will highlight how the digital transformation is impacting consumer’s food and health decisions.
  • National Pork Board CEO Bill Even will participate in a corporate social responsibility panel with leaders from food and agriculture industries who set a high bar in demonstrating best practices.
  • Fromm will discuss how generational differences are changing buying habits and put attendees into the consumer mindset.
  • An E-commerce panel will share how companies can use creative approaches to capitalize on the fact that online food sales are predicted to grow by 15% to 20% of total sales in 2022.

To see the full agenda and register, visit DairyExperienceForum.com.