Sept. 13 2022 08:00 AM

Providing consumers with a positive shopping experience boosts dairy sales.

Cheese pushers in the dairy aisle keep block and shredded cheese at the front of the shelf so consumers can easily access it, spending more in the dairy aisle.

American Dairy Association (ADA) North East is one of the state and regional dairy checkoff organizations that has a fully developed retail program designed to keep dairy cases clean, cold, and well-stocked, which, when coupled with merchandising techniques, sells more dairy products.

“Our retail team has built decades-long relationships with retailers that allow us to work closely with dairy case managers to integrate new marketing concepts that are proven to sell more dairy,” said ADA North East CEO John Chrisman. “Giving shoppers a positive experience encourages them to spend more of their grocery dollars on their favorite dairy products.”

The Hoover family of Brook-Corner Holsteins, Lebanon, Pa., is featured in farm-to-table signage in Karns Foods stores.
With 80% of milk, 71% of yogurt, and 33% of cheese sold at retail locations, it makes sense to focus checkoff dollars on retail marketing. Each year, ADA North East averages more than 7,000 store visits to at least 1,500 stores throughout our six-state region. During these store audits, our team identifies and recommends solutions for hygiene, temperature, and stocking issues. When we alert stores to an issue, they quickly respond to correct the problem.

We also help retailers redesign the dairy aisle by using customized signage that directs shoppers to the real dairy in the dairy case, incorporates farm-to-table features, installs yogurt dividers and cheese pushers, and highlights nutrition information and product use ideas. In 2021, our team completed 191 installations, and we are on track to pass that this year.

Stores report sales gains after completing the new looks. For example, the spring-loaded cheese pushers that keep shredded and block cheese at the front of the shelf have averaged sales growth of 4% after an installation. The pushers also reduce store labor — product rotation time is cut by more than 30%, and shelf replenishment time is reduced by 26%.

Consumers are also looking for local products. By featuring local farm families in store signage, we’re building a connection with those who are producing families’ favorite dairy foods, and they’re likely to purchase more products. Nearly 250 stores in our region feature dairy farmers. Be sure to look for someone you know when shopping!

Cross-merchandising Greek yogurt in the fresh berry section improved sales of the yogurt by 15% during our “Summertime Snacking” campaign.
Cross-merchandising of dairy in other retail departments can give a 7% or more boost in sales. In June, we partnered with Pennsylvania retailer Redner’s on a “Summertime Snacking” campaign, merchandizing 32-ounce tubs of Greek yogurt in the fresh berry section. Sales dollars of the yogurt were 15% higher than the year average. A “Summer Grilling” campaign placed sliced cheese in the hamburger section, for which one participating Acme store sold up to three additional crates of cheese per week through the display.

“We’re proud of the work our retail team is doing on behalf of our dairy farmers to sell more dairy, and we’re fortunate to have outstanding retailers who are willing to partner with us. It’s a win-win situation,” said Chrisman.

Jean Kummer

Jean Kummer is the industry communications specialist for American Dairy Association North East.