Midwest Dairy prioritizes making authentic connections with consumers by bringing dairy to unexpected places. Throughout 2022, you might have heard about the opportunity the Generation Z (Gen Z) consumer brings to dairy and saw many Midwest Dairy activations aimed towards this audience. Our research shows Gen Z has the opportunity to make a sizeable increase in sales and trust for dairy because they are high-impact consumers who are on track to be the best-educated generation yet and have more than $100 billion in spending power and $360 billion in disposable income. This doesn’t include the influence they also have on their parents. Research shows that average daily milk consumption declines for young adolescents and continues to fall into adulthood. If we don’t reach Gen Z where they are now, they’ll turn to other foods and beverages that align with their wants, needs, and values.
This is where gaming comes in. Have you ever heard of Candy Crush, Mario Kart, and other popular video games? You can bet the Gen Z audience has. Ninety-four percent of Gen Z identify as video gamers and watch and engage with gaming content on different devices daily. To be more specific, research shows these gamers spend, on average, around 11 hours a week playing and interacting with online games, and 44 percent say they have made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, like a gamer. Because of these numbers and more, dairy is stepping into the gaming arena. These statistics prove that the Gen Z audience has shifted their attention away from TV programs like in past years. In 2022, Midwest Dairy expanded our work with influencers in the gaming world and on social media platforms by focusing our tactics on providing these gamers with reasons to enjoy dairy because it can provide them with the energy and focus to excel in the gaming field.
Midwest Dairy participated in our first-ever pilot within the esports gaming world. Version1 is an esports organization based in Minnesota with a worldwide following. We entered a three-month pilot where we positioned Undeniably Dairy as the official nutrition partner of the Version1 Rocket League game. In this family-friendly game, cars play soccer in a battle arena. The partnership aims to connect with young video game players about how nutrition, including dairy, can optimize cognitive and physical performance for esports athletes. Esports games are live-streamed, like NFL or college sports games, so dairy was also mentioned on these live streams. As part of this initiative, a new content series called “Cooking with Comm,” hosted on YouTube, was also created, where a popular gamer made recipes featuring dairy ingredients. These cooking segments were so successful that we continued a second series around the holidays. Check out one episode of Cooking with Comm here.
Our goal for the pilot was to deliver dairy’s nutrition message to an audience of at least 15 million, and Midwest Dairy is happy to report that this pilot nearly doubled that number, with just over 29 million impressions made. The Holiday Quick Bites edition of Cooking with Comm featured two episodes around Christmas and New Year, making nearly 821,000 impressions.
We are also meeting gamers on a local level. For example, in the Fall of 2022, Midwest Dairy saw success when teamed up with the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) to craft an engaging online experience that connected learning with gaming by utilizing a popular game loved by individuals of all ages, Minecraft. The goal throughout this partnership was to get participants thinking about food and where it comes from.
Through this collaboration, contestants were tasked with building the world’s best dairy farm, challenging them to include essential farming equipment and ample space, food, and water that dairy cows would need to live comfortably. To help gamers learn about farm needs, Midwest Dairy provided links to virtual farm tours available on Midwest Dairy’s YouTube channel and website, which were included in the instructions to give some participants more background.
The goal of this project was for thirty gamers to participate in the challenge; we exceeded that with 109 submissions that included builders of all ages. Eric Sonnek from Sonnek Farms shared his dairy expertise and time by joining the SMM staff to review and judge all entries. Check out the SMM recap video that shares the winner’s excitement, learnings, and the website winner promotion.
Partnerships like these showcase the diversity and opportunity to reach Gen Z through messaging, experiences, and learning opportunities. Midwest Dairy is pleased to have seen success during our first time entering the gaming world and is excited to build on this momentum in 2023.