Re-emerging Opportunities for Dairy in 2022
The consumer purchasing landscape has gone through seismic shifts in the past two years. As we look ahead to the new year, we’re seeing many of the trends we were talking about prior to COVID-19 re-emerging and providing great opportunities for dairy to shine. With farmers and processors working together, we will build on already-positive impressions of dairy to keep dairy top of mind while continuing to drive sales and earn consumer trust. Here’s what we know:
#1 AMERICANS LOVE THEIR DAIRY -- Despite numerous changes experienced at retail and foodservice, we’re seeing that Americans are still quite interested in dairy (remember, 96 percent of Americans have dairy products in their refrigerators). Because 2020 was an outlier, we’re looking at 2019 sales data as a comparison for dairy sales growth. Between 1985 and 2020 total milk commercial disappearance increased by 74 percent in products such as cheese, yogurt and whey products.
#2 SPECIALTY CHEESE REMAINS A KEY DRIVER -- Using 2019 as a more normal baseline, specialty cheese sales saw a 17 percent elevation in 2021. As 90 percent of the milk here is made into cheese, Wisconsin leads the nation producing a quarter of all cheese in the U.S. and accounts for 50 percent of specialty cheese production.
#3 SUSTAINABILITY IS TOP OF MIND -- Dairy is a staple of the American diet. U.S. dairy accounts for 2 percent of total greenhouse emissions, 5.1 percent of water use, and 3.7 percent of U.S. farmland. This impact, however, presents a unique and vital conservation opportunity.
Sustainability was a hot topic for consumers pre-pandemic and dropped a bit during the worst days of the pandemic when we were primarily focused on staying safe and healthy. As we settle into this new 'normal' consumers are once again focused on sustainability -- and at the highest levels we've seen. One in 13 Americans say the environment is the biggest issue facing the U.S., which is more than healthcare, education and COVID-19, so this tells us sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for our customers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND RESOURCES-- Whether you want to attend events or join conversations with farmers online through social media pages or other platforms, you have many opportunities to learn more and share insights about environmental care and sustainability.
Resources and groups you might find helpful as you build your network:
U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards
The nomination period is open for the 2022 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards and the deadline has been extended, with submissions now accepted through Friday, March 4. Nominees will be judged on measurable results, approach and innovative use of learnings, resources and the potential for adoption by other farms and businesses and awards will be given in four categories:
  • Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability
  • Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration
  • Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability
  • Outstanding Community Impact

If you know of a dairy farm, company, supply chain collaboration or community effort that advances resourceful leadership and demonstrates sustainable practices, help us recognize their efforts by nominating them for a 2022 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award.
Judge Rules "Gruyere" is a Common Food Name
Exciting news recently shared as a judicial ruling has determined that “gruyere” is a generic style of cheese that can come from anywhere. The decision reaffirms that all cheesemakers, not just those in France or Switzerland, can continue to create and market cheese under this common name.
The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and a coalition of other dairy stakeholders which includes Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, prevailed in their sustained fight to preserve the ability of all actors in the U.S. marketplace to use generic terms.
In Case You Missed It!
Wisconsin made big headlines on National Cheese Lovers Day!

From Kelly Clarkson announcing on her show that Wisconsin was “going nuts right now” to Mario Lopez eating Wisconsin Cheese on a national segment we secured, everybody was talking about Wisconsin Cheese. You can also get a glimpse into our latest Cheeselandian event where over 300 people attended our virtual “SpeakCheesy" event to help celebrate including dairy farmers - Crystal and Mark Otto from Reedsville, Wisconsin.
Upcoming Industry Events and Activations 
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is committed to sharing the impact that promotion, research and education has in our state and beyond our borders. If you have questions or would like someone to present to your dairy organization, please connect with us. | 800.373.9662