Many of our customers (consumers) focus nearly exclusively on price. How much is the bag of cheese? They assume the quality of the product is reasonable. Most never give a thought to your eight questions in the August 6, 2018, Hoard’s Dairyman Intel item “Eight uncomfortable questions for dairies.”
I think that is changing and dairy farmers’ control of the answers is rapidly falling out of our control. Other nonfarmer opinions (some crazy, some reasonable) are going to affect the buying decisions of consumers.
A growing portion of the public doesn’t want to buy a product that isn’t created using green pastures and kindly raised cows by families. They oppose total confinement systems. I hear they don’t like the “baby ripped from its mother” thing and the “slaughtered after only a few years of production” thing. In our quest for price, we have left some bad answers to your eight questions.
No matter what we do, we are going to lose some consumers. For the last 20 years, many “yuppies” went to organic milk. Now I have heard they are leaving dairy entirely and buying almond “milk” and other plant-based beverages. We probably won’t win them back.
Our best approach is to be as honest as possible about animal welfare issues — but continue to focus on price and quality. Keep most ordinary folks and not worry about losing some poorly informed yuppies and zealots.
— Matt Hinds, Ohio