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    DESIGN: New-Look Dairy Section Could Boost Department Sales

    Attendees of the 2009 Worldwide Food Expo, scheduled for the end of this month in Chicago, will be the first to experience the “Dairy Department of the Future,” as revealed in a presentation illustrating the results of a three-year, dairy farmer-funded initiative to reinvent the supermarket dairy section.

    Attendees of the 2009 Worldwide Food Expo, scheduled for the end of this month in Chicago, will be the first to experience the “Dairy Department of the Future,” as revealed in a presentation illustrating the results of a three-year, dairy farmer-funded initiative to reinvent the supermarket dairy section. According to the research, the reconfigured department, which makes it easier to shop, but also educates and engages shoppers while optimizing space, grows dollar sales by 1.5 percent and dairy unit sales by 2 percent to 3 percent.

    The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI) and Willard Bishop, LLC, will present “Dairy Department Reinvention: Path to Growth and Differentiation” on Friday, Oct. 30, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Worldwide Food Expo at McCormick Place, Chicago. Paul Weitzel, managing partner at Barrington, Ill.-based Willard Bishop, LLC; David Bishop, managing partner at Chicago-based Balvor; and DMI SVP Scott Dissinger will discuss the benefits of revamping the dairy section, including the opportunity to create differentiation and build sales. Their presentation will provide a glimpse of the best practices and design principles that have proved successful in tests.

    “The dairy industry continually explores innovative ways to increase demand for naturally nutrient-rich dairy products,” said Thomas P. Gallagher, CEO of Rosemont, Ill.-based DMI, which manages the national dairy checkoff program for America’s dairy farmers. “That’s why we worked with industry partners to re-imagine how dairy is merchandised at retail. After comprehensive testing and research, it’s clear that there is a significant opportunity for the dairy industry and retailers alike to increase dairy department sales by as much as $1 billion over a one-year period.”

    In 2006, DMI, The Dannon Co. and Kraft Foods formed a coalition to concentrate on a “shopper-centric” approach that would increase overall retail dairy department sales. The coalition found that in a redesigned dairy department, shoppers spend more time, have a better shopping experience, and are more likely to buy more items overall.

    According to coalition research, customers who include dairy in their purchase spend more time in the store and more money at a considerably faster rate vs. most shoppers. The group examined 343,000 shopping trips, audited 22,000 retail grocery stores, interviewed 2,500 consumers, and rolled out category and total dairy aisle reinvention programs in over 1,000 stores. Their results demonstrated that dairy unit sales could be boosted by such efforts by over 2 percent.

    In response to the new department, shoppers said they liked its presentation, thought the changes made shopping easier and felt that the new design was more welcoming.

    Other crucial industry topics DMI will address at the expo include Is Your Company Crisis-Ready?; Dairy Products: Health and Wellness in a Package; and International Dairy Market. The organization is additionally sponsoring the event’s Sustainability Pavilion, which will offer presentations by dairy industry leaders on how to implement new green practices that make good business sense. Dairy2020, DMI’s interactive booth, will inform attendees on how to cut costs, boost revenues and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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