Midwest Dairy Over the Moon About Reaching the Next Generation of Consumers

Moo Lab pop-up events at Iowa State University and University of Minnesota catch dreamy results.

Got milk? If you’re a member of the Frappuccino-sipping Generation Z, the answer is yes, but with a twist.

Gen Z, the oldest of which are college students and considered the first mobile natives, represents the biggest bulge in population since the boomers. Fluid milk consumption is down overall, and those 19 and younger are leaving milk at the highest rate. That’s why Midwest Dairy is focused on connecting dairy to this generation.

“We’ve recognized Gen Z is distinctly different than millennials,” says Alexandra Larson, a registered dietitian with Midwest Dairy. She explains that this generation has a positive attitude toward dairy, but it is milk consumed as part of other standalone beverages, like smoothies and lattes, that is trending up.

Local campaign brings moon milk to college students

To appeal to the tastes of this generation, Midwest Dairy is milking a new trend: moon milk.

The warm, frothy, milk-based beverage was recently described by Health magazine as “a trendy new insomnia fighter … popping up all over social media, often in colorful hues.” Grandma’s warm-milk-before-bedtime tradition has been reinvented with swirls, sprinkles and spritzes of functional ingredients, like activated charcoal, turmeric, ginger and dark chocolate, Larson says.

During the height of midterms, Midwest Dairy debuted its Moo Lab pop-up on the University of Minnesota (UMN) and Iowa State University (ISU) campuses, serving up hundreds of free cups of the dream-inducing beverage. According to Larson, “The moon milk application created a unique opportunity to engage with Gen Z and demonstrate how dairy fits their lifestyle and perhaps even helps them destress.”

Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan – often associated with turkey – and melatonin that promote relaxation, she explains. “Milk is like a natural sleep aid that also supplies a boost of nutrition, including 8 grams of high-quality protein, in one serving.”

The ISU Dairy Science Club and UMN Gopher Dairy Club embraced the peer-to-peer dairy experience. Whether sharing an umbrella in Ames, Iowa, or donning cow costumes in the middle of the urban Minneapolis campus, the young dairy professionals shared their stories, connecting with students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds.

“Moo Lab was an inviting way for students to taste and see how cool dairy is, while making the connection that it’s fresh and local,” exclaims Dairy Science Club President Samantha DeVoe. “Despite cold and rain, we had 20-plus people in line at times and, with the #CupsofComfort campaign, students continuously shared their moon milk experience on Snapchat and Instagram. It was such a positive experience!”

In total, more than 1,500 cups of moon milk were served to students over the two, five-hour serving periods on each campus, showing signs that milk has a place in Gen Z’s shopping cart.

Kemps and Hiland Dairy generously donated the milk for the two events.

Midwest Dairy™ represents 7,000 dairy farm families and works on their behalf to build dairy demand by inspiring consumer confidence in our products and production practices. We are committed to bringing dairy to life by giving consumers an excellent dairy experience and are funded by farmers across a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit midwestdairy.com.

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