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Innovate with Dairy Tool available now

March 27, 2024


2 minute read

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) has launched Innovate with Dairy, a new tool created through the national dairy checkoff. The Innovate with Dairy tool is designed to be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs seeking information about the innovation process. Dairy is the largest retail food aisle and has one of the largest growth categories, making it highly desirable for those looking to expand into the market. While entrepreneurs are eager to enter the dairy category, they are sometimes unsure where to begin with innovation and insights resources. They often have questions and do not know who to turn to for answers.

Understanding the need, the checkoff created a dairy-focused system to support eager entrepreneurs, including farmers interested in bottling their own milk or crafting artisanal cheese. This tool offers entrepreneurs access to more than 250 vetted dairy resources, including leading researchers and professors in the Midwest Dairy checkoff-founded Dairy Foods Research Centers network. It was created by DMI to guide users through resources and find the answers they need to develop innovation within the dairy category. Midwest Dairy is proud to have contributed to this tool’s development, directing dairy entrepreneurs to dairy checkoff staff and Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center experts for support.  

According to Marla Buerk, executive vice president of innovation at DMI, the tool helps identify high-growth health and wellness opportunities and attract, stimulate, and secure investment and talent in health and wellness science, technology, and product innovation. 

The tool is divided into three phases featuring tutorials that help entrepreneurs. These three phases are: 

  • Phase 1. Idea development: Identifying the growth opportunity and developing the idea. This phase includes guidance on assessing technical and financial feasibilities. 
  • Phase 2. Product development: Developing the product, its name, and what you need from a trademarking standpoint. There is assistance with package structure, graphics, and finalizing the financial assessment. 
  • Phase 3. Product launch: Taking the product to market with a promotional and financing plan. This includes ideas and templates for approaching investors and eventually monitoring market results. 

Five new dairy products highlighted in the tool are great examples of the innovation showcased. Midwest Dairy farmers might recognize GoodSport, a natural sports drink that’s been scientifically shown to provide rapid and long-lasting hydration and improve performance. This, among other examples, showcases the innovative support dairy provides in the food and beverage sector. To learn more about the Innovate with Dairy program and the other dairy innovations highlighted, click here.