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    PG WEB EXTRA: Milking Sales For Dairy Month

    Grocers can shine an extra spotlight on dairy foods in June

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    June Dairy Month is a great time for grocers to promote dairy aisle sales with the help of annual promotional programs from various trade groups. It’s also a good time to get some extra mileage out of other new campaigns that, while not specifically created for Dairy Month, stand to produce even greater sales with a double-barreled approach.

    Cool Culinary Possibilities

    In a consumer survey, 74 percent of respondents said yogurt was the first item to come to mind when thinking of the dairy aisle, but only 6 percent said potatoes. This June Dairy Month, the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) will partner with celebrity chef Aida Mollenkamp to show consumers that they may be missing out on the most exciting and convenient aisle in the supermarket.

    Mollenkamp’s exclusive recipes developed for NFRA including Peaches and Cream Popsicles and Loaded Potato Nests use refrigerated products such as yogurt and potatoes to show consumers that the dairy aisle is full of creative and unexpected ingredients that can be customized to fit within a well-balanced lifestyle and lead to endless mealtime possibilities.

    During June Dairy Month, NFRA will capitalize on the trend toward smaller meals and redefine snacking by raising awareness of the refrigerated dairy aisle as “the new snack destination.” A Cool Food Panel of partner bloggers will develop a “snack-size” series of visual content and recipes to raise awareness of the refrigerated dairy aisle as a go-to destination for snacking. Bloggers will create mini main entrees, bite-sized finger foods and darling side dishes and desserts that will help consumers ignite a healthy new passion for refrigerated dairy. NFRA will also partner with online hub Bakespace.com and its #KitchenParty on Google Hangout, to host two live video chats with a celeb spokesperson and influential blogger to engage consumers with recipes and how-to’s in the kitchen.

    NFRA will support the June Dairy Month promotion nationally with a two-page FSI dropping on June 1 to a 20-million circulation. The ad will feature coupons and product images of the 18 participating manufacturer brands and will encourage consumers to “Discover the Cool Possibilities” that can be found in the refrigerated dairy aisle.

    In addition, sponsoring manufacturers can offer online coupons on Coupons.com, and NFRA will promote June Dairy Month with banner ads throughout the month. A $10,000 consumer sweepstakes will drive visitors to NFRA’s consumer website, as well as to NFRA’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube where a multitude of “snack-size” content will be featured. Additionally, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen will focus on June Dairy Month with a special TV spot broadcasting to more than 4 million households on June 6.

    An idea book and POS catalog are available from NFRA to help companies create in-store events that encourage traffic in the refrigerated dairy aisles and increase industry sales. During the June promotion, retailers, manufacturers and sales agents will have the opportunity to enter their most creative June Dairy Month displays and marketing campaigns in the prestigious Golden Penguin Awards competition.

    The winning entries showing the best in marketing and merchandising will be recognized at the Awards Reception and Banquet on Oct. 14 during the annual NFRA Convention in Orlando, Fla.

    Rockin’ Refuel

    Among the promotions for Rockin’ Refuel, a milk-based beverage made by Arizona-based Shamrock Farms, is a video of country music star and “Dancing with the Stars” winner Kellie Pickler giving a dance lesson to football star Patrick Willis. Pickler used her dance training to come up with the “Warrior Willis,” a tackle celebration dance for Willis to show off on the field next season.

    Made with real milk, Rockin’ Refuel contains high-quality protein crucial to athletes of all levels for building muscle or post-workout recovery.

    The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) is making protein the centerpiece of its newest promotion, Milk Life, which focuses on the energy boost of dairy, especially for the breakfast eating occasion. The Milk Boost campaign includes print ads featuring dramatic action photos of milk drinkers engaged in activities for which added protein would come in handy. An integrated campaign includes participation by retailers, milk processors, public relations and social media.

    Master Cheesemaker Program Announces Grads, Celebrates Milestone

    With its 2014 graduating class, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program celebrates 20 years of providing the nation’s only advanced training course of its kind for veteran cheesemakers. This year’s class includes four new Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers and three veteran Masters who repeated the program to earn certification in additional cheese varieties.

    Four new Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers:

    ·        Mike Brennenstuhl, Great Lakes Cheese Seymour Inc., Seymour, Wis., certified for Blue and Gorgonzola

    ·        Pat Doell, Agropur Inc., Luxemburg, certified for Mozzarella and Provolone

    ·        Brian Renard, Renard’s Rosewood Dairy/Renard’s Cheese, Algoma, Wis., certified for Cheddar and Colby

    ·        Chris Renard, Renard’s Rosewood Dairy/Renard’s Cheese, Algoma, Wis., certified for Cheddar and Mozzarella

     Returning graduates in the 2014 class:

    ·        Mark Gustafson, Sartori Foods, Plymouth, Wis., now certified for Fontina and Romano, as well as Parmesan and Asiago

    ·        Paul Reigle, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, Wis., now certified for Cheddar in addition to Yogurt Cheese and Monterey Jack

    ·        Bruce Workman, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello, Wis., now certified for Cheddar and Gouda in addition to Baby Swiss, Brick, Butterkäse, Emmental, Gruyère, Havarti, Muenster, Raclette and Specialty Swiss (low-sodium, low-fat lacy Swiss).

    The graduates were honored and presented with Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker medallions at a ceremony during the International Cheese Technology Exposition in Milwaukee on April 24.

    “We congratulate the 2014 graduates and are proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this unique program. Those who have earned the title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker have such a dedication to their craft and pride in what they’ve achieved,” said James Robson, CEO of the Madison, Wis.-based Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “The impact of the program on them personally, as well as on their companies and the Wisconsin cheese industry has been immeasurable.”

    Established in 1994 through a joint partnership of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, UW-Extension and WMMB, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program is the most formalized, advanced training program in the nation. Patterned after European programs, it is administered by the Center for Dairy Research and funded by Wisconsin dairy producers, through WMMB. Applicants to the program must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years of experience. Cheesemakers can earn certification in up to two cheese varieties each time they enroll in the three-year program and must have been making those varieties as a licensed cheesemaker for a minimum of five years prior to entering the program. Once certified, they’re entitled to use the distinctive Master’s Mark on their product labels and in other marketing materials.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editorial director of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing. Follow him at www.twitter.com/JimDudlicek

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