Part Two: Consumer Trust is Essential to Dairy Farmers’ Future

Tom Gallagher Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Management Inc.

Tom Gallagher Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Management Inc.

This is the second in a two-part series about what your Dairy Promotion Checkoff is doing to reinforce consumer trust in dairy farm families and dairy products, to help ensure dairy sales.  Part One appears in the February 5 edition of DairyBusiness Digital magazine.

Last month, we discussed the importance of trust. Trust in the milk you provide. Trust in the products that milk becomes. Trust in the work you and your families do on your farms and the care you provide your animals.

As your national dairy checkoff, our vision is for people to trust dairy as essential to their lives.  To achieve that vision, we look to maximize U.S. dairy farmers’ investment by anticipating and meeting consumers’ evolving needs while building their trust in dairy foods, dairy farmers and the broader dairy community.

Today, U.S. dairy is operating in an environment of accelerated change, increased competition and ongoing consumer questions about and interest in where their food comes from and how it’s produced.

 At our annual meeting, I outlined five keys to building and maintaining consumer and thought leader trust. These are our “trust-building priorities” that we will keep front and center as we work on your behalf. Last month in this column, I covered two of these priorities, and below are the remaining three.

  • Consumer Engagement and Communication: Launched last year, Undeniably Dairy, is reintroducing dairy to consumers. The campaign, developed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, was built on research that identified the trust barriers that adult consumers face when it comes to their dairy purchasing decisions. With content that engages consumers in a fun and relevant way on the topics that are important to them – nutrition, responsible production and taste and enjoyment – Undeniably Dairy is celebrating all that is good about dairy while helping consumers feel good about choosing dairy foods for their families.
  • Forward Thinking on the Importance of Technology: As the checkoff continues to sharpen our knowledge and intelligence in a variety of areas, it’s important that we understand and determine potential applications of emerging technologies to protect and promote dairy. These technologies include understanding dairy’s opportunity in eCommerce and looking at the potential of “blockchain” as a business solution for farmers.
  • Take Action Toward Fear-Based Marketing: As a collective industry we need to come together against the kind of fear-based marketing that some companies are using to further their individual brands. However, for consumers who are looking for fact-based information to assure them of the safety the food they eat and feed their families, this kind of fear-based marketing can backfire. The claims that are being made are too often creating more confusion for the consumer and, ultimately, hurting the entire category. NMPF’s “Peel Back the Label” campaign is fighting against fear-based marketing. Through the campaign, consumers are receiving transparency and truth while learning about science-backed GMO technology.


Together, these five “trust-building” priorities will enable us to keep dairy demand strong.  While long-term trust takes years to build, trust can be taken away in a few moments. That is why it’s important that we are proactive and deliberate in stewarding your checkoff investment into those priorities that will continue to earn trust with consumers and earn dairy a place at their table. In doing so, we can ensure long-term prosperity for our U.S. dairy farm families.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please contact us at [email protected].