Becky Levzow, Alex Peterson, Loren Briones, who works as a USA Cheese Guild Merchandiser, Marilyn Hershey, and Larry Hancock pose in front of the dairy case.
For most customers, their interaction with the dairy industry begins and ends with what they see in the grocery store, convenience store, or other market where they buy their dairy products. Packaging, labelling, and shelf displays help them make their decisions on what to purchase. A well-stocked, well-organized display gives the impression of choice and quality, while a sparse or unorganized dairy case does little to draw a customer in.
In U.S. stores, dairy typically has plenty of room to showcase milk, cheese, yogurt, and more to customers in attractive displays. But when American dairy products are exported to other countries for retail sales, they often do not have that same luxury, making it more difficult for shoppers to find and choose the products.
Changing that visibility is one goal of the U.S. Dairy Export Council as it builds trade and business relationships in other countries. Pennsylvania dairy farmer and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) board chair Marilyn Hershey witnessed that firsthand on a trade mission to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates last November.
Hershey and the rest of the group, which included other U.S. dairy farmers and industry professionals, visited LuLu Hypermarket, the supermarket chain DMI is partnered with in the Middle East/North Africa region of the world. The company, founded in 2000, has more than 200 stores throughout in that area. It has developed U.S. cheese displays in its stores that are complete with colorful branding, sampling stations, and dedicated promoters to answer shopper questions and keep product looking its best.
“Since we started with LuLu, we have tripled the SKUs that are in the grocery stores,” Hershey said on the January 19 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream
of the stock-keeping units, or specific product types, that are available to consumers. What’s more, she explained that between in-store and social media campaigns, there have been more than 9,000 different marketing efforts to keep U.S. cheese front and center of LuLu’s customers’ minds.
Shoppers can then find those products in the store thanks to a “Cheese made in the USA” seal marked on all American cheeses. That simple display helps customers halfway across the world know that they are able to purchase a quality item from quality milk produced in the U.S.
“I think it’s really important when people are walking through the supermarkets that they see this product is coming from the U.S.,” Hershey summarized.
To watch the recording of the January 19 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is also available as an audio-only podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website
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