Evolving to Meet the Demands of a Changing Consumer, Marketplace

Barbara O’Brien, President, Dairy Management Inc. & President, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Barbara O’Brien

Today, the global business environment demands that we, as a dairy community, work harder than ever to adapt to changing consumer preferences, marketplace dynamics and climate urgencies, while remaining focused on providing the nutrient-rich, great tasting dairy products the world wants and needs.

Our work over the past decade — growth-oriented partnerships, social and environmental responsibility, investments in scientific research and integrated marketing – has well-positioned us to meet the challenges of this new environment.

2020-2023 Unified Marketing Plan Priorities

The dairy checkoff’s 2020 unified marketing plan is the first step in a multi-year journey focused on three business priorities that build further trust and relevance with consumers and youth while positioning U.S. dairy and dairy farmers as leaders in providing sustainable nutrition to the world.

Like farmers, we must bridge our longstanding history and expertise to a new set of challenges. Checkoff staff, nationally and locally, have developed a four-year strategic framework that not only evolves how we work but where checkoff dollars are invested to contemporize our approach and ensure relevance with consumers here and around the world.

  1. Accelerate Incremental Sales Growth

Years ago, our board directed us to work with and through industry and commercial market partners to make fundamental consumer-driven changes in how dairy is offered on menus and in retail. Today, we’re helping move billions of incremental pounds of dairy through global leaders such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Kroger, fairlife and others, offering consumers new and innovative dairy choices.

Our partnership model works. In the year ahead, we will continue to build upon this success in foodservice and in retail while we identify emerging growth and product innovation opportunities with new and non-traditional players.



In addition to menu and dairy product innovation, our partners will use their marketing channels to share dairy’s sustainable nutrition story.

  1. Position U.S. Dairy in a Global Food System

And sharing that story has never been more important given increasing customer and consumer expectations tied to sustainability and food production practices. In addition, climate considerations are dominating global nutrition and sustainability policy discussions.

As our reach becomes more global, we must continue to invest in the science that deepens the nutrition and broader wellness benefits of dairy, reinforces U.S. dairy’s leadership and progress in reducing environmental impacts and showcases the positive contributions we are making to local communities. And we must equip more voices from the U.S. dairy community – farmers, processors, customers and others – to engage in the right conversations with thought leaders, media and other key decision makers.

  1. Build Trust in Youth and the “Conflicted Health Seeker

In the past year, we have seen a growing number of youths express their concerns about the environment, becoming influential voices with business leaders and decision makers. Similarly, the “conflicted health seeker” consumer continues to question where their food comes from, including the sustainable production practices from the farm through retail.

Youth and conflicted health seekers are keys to dairy’s future. And both have the power to influence others. That is why strategic investments are being made to ensure that we continue to share U.S. dairy’s story with these critical audiences through the Undeniably Dairy campaign.

National and Global Checkoff Unity

As checkoff staff, we take great pride in serving some of the hardest-working people in our country, who put food on our families’ tables and take care of our land. In developing a framework for our 2020-2023 Unified Marketing Plan, our mandate was to focus not only on what we need to do to grow trust and drive sales, but on how we do it to have the greatest impact.

Over the past 18 months, national, state and regional and international staff have worked as one team, tapping into talent from every corner of the country to create a unified framework and plan that builds from a strong foundation. This is not about a revolutionary new plan but rather, an evolved focus on where we prioritize strategic investments in research, domestic and international partnerships and marketing to reinforce and showcase U.S. dairy’s commitment to sustainable nutrition.

The collaborative effort undertaken to create the plan sets the tone for how we’ll go forward: a unified and action-oriented approach that maximizes the checkoff investment and will secure and grow U.S. dairy’s position here and around the world in the years to come.

Any thoughts or questions? Contact us at TalkToTheCheckoff@dairy.org.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.