Midwest Dairy relies heavily on current consumer research and insights to develop strategies and action plans that positively impact sales and trust across our 10-state region. Research shows that when consumer sentiment toward the dairy industry is positive, consumers are more likely to purchase dairy when at the dairy case. For this reason, Midwest Dairy works with partners with a large consumer audience, including the targeted audiences of Generation Z (Gen Z) and their parents, to build trust in and around dairy.
In Nebraska, one significant event in which a diverse audience of Gen Z and their parents gather is the NCAA Men’s College World Series. The College World Series is an annual baseball tournament held in June in Omaha, Nebraska metro. This national event has an annual reach of just over 300,000 attendees from across the country, making it a unique opportunity for dairy to share its story with a large, diverse crowd. For the second year, Midwest Dairy had an on-site presence to engage with consumers through various opportunities to learn more about dairy’s unique nutritional benefits and sustainably produced features and sample some yummy dairy products.
The Midwest Dairy booth was stationed in the Omaha Baseball Village venue during the opening ceremony and the first five days of the two-week tournament. The booth brought to life the Midwest dairy farmers’ story by highlighting the unique wellness benefits of dairy and the farmers’ dedication to caring for the planet and their cows. Activities in the booth were interactive and encouraged passing consumers to stop in and spin the dairy trivia wheel or drop a Plinko chip to answer dairy-related nutrition and sustainability questions. Activities offered encouraged learning while allowing families to have fun. Dairy treats were also available to sample, thanks to generous donations by processors. More than 1,000 chocolate milk pints, 4,000 cheese sticks, and 500 drinkable yogurts were enjoyed by attendees throughout the week. Consumers could also stop by to snap photos in the ice cream cone cutouts stationed right outside the booth.
Back by popular demand from the previous year, Jason and Jodi Cast of JJC Jerseys brought two dairy calves, appropriately named Babe and Ruth, for the crowd to interact with. These calves were a huge hit and the real stars of the show. Many visitors noted that the College World Series was the first time they had interacted with a farm animal in person and were excited about their genuinely memorable and unique dairy experience. Dairy farmer Jodi Cast shared information with consumers about cow care and sustainability and answered other questions that arose. The Undeniably Dairy booth was even highlighted in a news segment promoting the Omaha Baseball Village Hero Day, where stadium-honored Hero Jimmy was seen interacting with Midwest Dairy calves.
Volunteering in the booth were dairy farmers and advocates Mary Temme, Nebraska division board chair; Lowell Mueller, past Nebraska division board member along with his wife, Lois, and sister, Vickie Gilligan; Jen and Brooke Hilgenkamp of Hilgenkamp Farms Inc.; and three Midwest Dairy ambassadors, Abby Langdon, Jenna Albers and Kaitlyn Hanson, who served as on-site experts and interacted with consumers answering all questions. A special thank you to this group for volunteering their time and expertise.
Finding ways to reach consumers with dairy’s farm-to-table story in out-of-the-box places is important and large events like these shine a positive spotlight on the dairy industry nationwide. Reaching this vast consumer base with a unique experience helps to bring dairy to life in a fun way while educating consumers on important topics and giving them a taste of the dairy products, they love. Midwest Dairy is excited to bring dairy back to the ballpark as we begin to plan for the next College World Series in 2023.