What is Powering Consumer Decisions with Dairy?  
During 2020, nearly all facets of consumers’ lives changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Research and Insights team at DFW studied these changes both to understand the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior in the year that was, but also to help our industry plan for long-term, sustained shifts that may result in the years to come.

For example, our research shows that the percentage of Americans preparing at least 90% of their meals at home surged from 24% before the pandemic, to 59% during the initial stages of the crisis when many restaurants closed. Even now that some restaurants have begun reopening, the percentage of Americans preparing nearly all their meals at home remains twice as high (47%) as it was pre-COVID.

And more often, shoppers are sourcing ingredients for their home-prepared meals via online shopping. In fact, online grocery shopping grew as much in the first quarter of 2020 as the last three years combined. And this is likely a permanent shift as 68% of new online grocery shoppers plan to continue shopping for groceries online in the future.

Moving ahead into a new year, we expect several other trends to drive consumer behavior. First, shoppers continue to seek out products that offer nutrition and holistic well-being. The coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of food and beverages that support health, which is an area that dairy has a strong advantage. Second, the pandemic also amplified consumers’ desire to support their local communities by buying from local businesses. Nearly all (93%) of Wisconsinites recognize that buying dairy supports the local economy. Finally, consumers will continue to demand sustainability from the products they buy, including dairy. More than half (59%) of Americans say it’s important that the food products they consume are produced sustainably.

To grow demand for Wisconsin dairy, dairy farmers and processors must be open in addressing each of these pillars: good for me, good for my community, good for my planet. Being transparent about these elements will continue to build consumer’s trust, foster their love of dairy and sustain markets for Wisconsin milk in 2021 and beyond.

Jen Walsh 
Chief Operating Officer
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
Research and Insights Drive Decisions
COVID-19, Consumers and Dairy
COVID-19 impacts how consumers shop and prepare dairy and dairy products. Dive into the consumer impact and learn what trends might be here to stay with Suzanne Isige, Manager – Market Research.
Sustainability and Key Messaging For Consumers
Dig deeper into the consumer research that supports “Dairy is Good for My Body, Dairy is Good for My Community and Good for My Planet” with Kim Koh, Manager- Market Research.
New Dietary Guidelines Favor Dairy
Newly released federal dietary guidelines (DGA) will benefit dairy, even as work remains to be done. Three servings of low-fat and non-fat dairy continue to be recommended in healthy U.S. and vegetarian diets, and dairy remained its own group.
 
The DGA is the cornerstone of official guidance on dietary recommendations for federal food assistance programs, such as those followed in our nation’s schools and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and support for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

How significant is that? According to USDA, in 2019, more than 10 billion pounds of fluid milk, 683 million pounds of cheese and 662 million pounds of yogurt and other dairy foods moved through these programs... that’s roughly 10% of all dairy compared to the annual U.S. milk production. 

Dairy’s place in the Guidelines has been secure since they were created in 1980, and that’s because they are based on sound science and peer-reviewed research. The checkoff-led National Dairy Council (NDC) plays an important role in this area. NDC and the checkoff has funded hundreds of research studies on topics including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, whole milk dairy foods, inflammation, protein, digestive health, sustainable food systems, child nutrition, bone health and more. Checkoff funding is vital to continuing leading edge dairy research.
Milk Mustaches + Cereal = Winning Combination
Dairy’s Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) — the group behind the 'Got Milk?' marketing campaign is partnering with General Mills Inc. for a lineup of special edition cereal boxes featuring its iconic mascot characters from Trix, Lucky Charms and Cheerios cereals with milk mustaches!

This historic partnership was designed to deliver even more fun along with the essential nutrition people need to fuel their mornings. The fun will continue on social with the launch of the #CerealMilkStacheChallenge. Some of today’s biggest social media stars will show off a new take on the classic milk mustache — after they drink cereal and milk straight from the bowl. To learn more about the partnership and join in on the #CerealMilkStacheChallenge, follow @GeneralMillsCereal and @gotmilk on Instagram and @GenMillsCereal and @gotmilk on TikTok.
It’s Game on for Dairy and Gen Z’s
Gen Z – people born between 1997 and 2012 – represents more than 55 million consumers who have a spending power of approximately $143 billion. The checkoff wants to reach this influential audience of Gen Z consumers, so we meet them where they are, like in the video game world.

This out-of-the-box partnership and gaming strategy gives the checkoff an innovative way to share dairy’s sustainability story to this audience beyond traditional means. Nearly 90% of Gen Z classify themselves as gamers, and one of the most popular games is Minecraft.
In Case You Missed It!
Wisconsin Cheese on the Drew Barrymore Show
We’ve been collaborating with the The Drew Barrymore Show to debut the cheese lovers’ Valentine’s Day surprise. Media relationships such as this one, help to build credibility and garner attention for Wisconsin Cheese beyond our state’s borders, which is where 90% of our cheese is sold.
Checkoff Mission on Track Despite 2020 Chaos
Wisconsin dairy farmer and DFW Board Vice Chair Janet Clark talks about how the checkoff quickly pivoted to meet the unexpected challenges of 2020.
Upcoming Industry Events and Activations 
hello@wisconsindairy.org | 800.373.9662
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Checkoff / Promotions: WisconsinDairy.org