by Claire Lentsch/a contributor to The Shelby Report
Editor’s note: Shelby Midwest Editor Terrie Ellerbee met Claire Lentsch at the 2017 Supervalu National Expo in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here, Lentsch shares her perspective as a member of Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s) and a consumer.
Dairy is a timeless classic; the foundation of nutrition and health benefits. Dairy is a major food group that nourishes growing minds and bodies. This natural goodness is found on every table across America.
Dairy is evolving. From milk to yogurt to cottage cheese, new flavors are being introduced, creating a new series of delicious opportunities. Creative flavoring is not only a great way to attract kids to dairy but it sparks interest with consumers of all ages. Choosing different flavors to mix with milk defies the traditional idea of “white, chocolate or strawberry milk.” Incorporating diverse and innovative flavors sparks endless possibilities and curiosity. Dairy is exciting.
There is a different size milk container for every situation. Gallons of milk are the perfect size to keep in the fridge. If you don’t drink massive amounts of milk, the half-gallon is a great option. If you don’t have time to sit down and pour yourself a glass, grab-n-go is the answer. Milk is leaving the house and is ready to travel. Dairy is mobile.
Yogurt drinks are booming. A superior way to begin any morning is with dairy, especially a sleek, mobile, convenient yogurt smoothie. Yogurt is on the rise and there are new varieties of flavors and packages. Providing a diversity of yogurt flavors keeps the consumer interested.
Yogurt drinks are fast, nutritious and delicious. Instead of having to mix your own smoothie every morning, just grab one out of the fridge and be on your way. Yogurt drinks with fruit are attracting young consumers with the health and convenience of natural fruit and dairy.
Yogurt that allows the consumer to stir in the ingredients themselves generates a sensory interaction. By stirring in the flavor, a sense of control is created for the consumer. Instead of just opening a cup of pre-mixed strawberry yogurt, open a container of yogurt with strawberries for you to add yourself. It is much more appealing.
The shape of the container also is important. The wider the container, the better. Yogurt appears more delectable and dessert-like when there are more places to break the surface.
Cottage cheese is beginning to break the surface, making a comeback. New travel-sized containers are attracting many customers who have fast-paced lifestyles. The quick and convenient packaging allows consumers to easily grab one on their way out the door.
Flavors are peaking curiosity. By putting “Great with” on the packaging, consumers will be inspired to step outside the box and try a new snack. One example: blueberry cottage cheese with pretzels. Who would have thought? From travel size to new flavors, cottage cheese is reclaiming its spot on the self. Dairy is savory.
In the past, the idea that “fats are bad” was a prevalent notion. Now we know that not all fats are bad. Dairy is jam-packed with healthy fats that are great for hair and skin and improve the way our bodies function. Consumers are avidly searching for dairy with higher fat and protein content, especially when it comes to ice cream. The higher the fat content, the creamier the ice cream (and the more delectable it is!).
As wonderful as dairy is, there are some things to keep in mind. Many times, when children are in school, the cafeteria’s refrigeration systems are faulty, resulting in a range from warm to frozen milk. This faulty refrigeration might seem like a “one-time slip up” but that couldn’t be less true. In fact, it only takes one carton of distorted milk and these young impressionable minds will forever have that negative experience with dairy in the back of their mind. That could result in hesitation to consume any dairy product for years to come. It is mandatory to be mindful of refrigeration and expiration dates, especially within schools. One less than delightful dairy experience could lead to a lifetime of distrust.
From flavors to mobility to convenience and endless possibilities, dairy is showing the world a new face. Young consumers are eager to explore the new flavors and presentations of dairy products as dairy is evolving.