Dairy processors understand that great-tasting, high-quality products are critical to success. But a number of attributes beyond those essentials (and, of course, price) increasingly are driving consumers’ purchase decisions.

One of those attributes is a compelling brand story — one that allows consumers to connect emotionally with that brand. And because packaging often is a consumer’s first contact with a product or a brand, what better place to communicate exactly who you are — loudly and clearly? But too many dairy companies fall short here.


A storytelling standout

One brand that’s doing an incredible job here is Applegate Farms. Its new Applegate Naturals cheese line  greets shoppers with reclosable pouches that boast a large illustration of a dairy cow. Written directly on that cow drawing — under a header stating “Made with Milk From” — are the statements “No Antibiotics Ever,” Pasture-Raised Cows” and “Humanely Raised.” And in keeping with the company’s commitment to the absence of GMO ingredients, each package bears the Non-GMO Project Verified logo.

Consumers get an instant snapshot of the brand’s “story” at the point of purchase. And for consumers who still might be skeptical — or want to learn more — Applegate Farms continues the storytelling online. Visitors to the company’s website will learn that beyond what’s communicated on the front of the package, “natural dairy practices” mean the milk is sourced from family farms; the cows are not treated with hormones; and the cheese contains no artificial ingredients and preservatives, as well as no added colors and dyes.

Frequent blog posts, meanwhile, reinforce Applegate Farms’ position on many of the aforementioned practices.


More than one story to tell

To be successful, the brand story doesn’t have to be linked to natural and organic practices, of course. The possibilities are numerous. For example, it could be all about the careful attention paid to ingredients and culinary craftsmanship.

And High Road Craft Ice Cream of Marietta, Ga., does a bang-up job here with its pint packaging. The package puts the words “Luxury Ice Cream” front and center; it also notes that the product is vat pasteurized and contains 16% butterfat. The pint lid, meanwhile, tells consumers the ice cream is “Made by Chefs.”

A spotlight also is given to the ingredients on the front and sides of the pint packaging. The Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream flavor, for example, showcases photos of chocolate pieces, cream, sugar and cookies, with the handwritten descriptors of “good chocolate,” “comforting,” “simple” and “craveable handmade cookies,” respectively.

Finally, High Road uses the back of the pint to succinctly communicate what the company and brand stand for: “We believe that food is language. We delight in exploring cultures and cuisines. We are true makers — vat pasteurizing our mix, cooking in our kitchens, attending to every batch. This is our passion.”

A good story — well-conveyed on the package and reinforced via online and other avenues — can go a long way toward winning over consumers. How are you communicating your brand’s story?