In the dairy community, we know that if we are going to maintain and expand market share in the coming years and decades, our focus needs to be on connecting with the next generation of consumers. Right now, that means building more trust and preference with members of Generation Z, those born between 1997-2012, who are now more than 20% of the population with spending power of over $100 billion and growing.
Recent studies show 90% of Gen Z believes companies must act to help social and environmental issues, and 78% of them agree it is up to their generation to stop climate change from getting worse. How do we connect with Gen Z to help them see that dairy is something they can feel good about putting in their carts now and well into the future? We show them our commitment and passion for sustainability, and positive environmental, social and economic outcomes.
With the goal of connecting with Gen Z consumers to build trust and drive demand, Midwest Dairy created a marketing campaign – “What You Do, Dairy Does Too” – to help young consumers see that dairy farmers are just like them: people who care about the environment, their neighbors and their communities. Although we have shared dairy’s local, health and net zero messages before, this is the first campaign to focus exclusively on sustainability.
In addition to the importance of sustainability, research shows Gen Z consumers prefer getting information from videos, and they appreciate colorful, engaging images and infographic-like materials. To ensure we are reaching Gen Z in a way that will resonate, a “What You Do, Dairy Does Too” toolkit was developed with these insights in mind.
The toolkit is available for partners and farmers to download on and includes things such as bright, fun banner artwork that can be displayed in-store or on the farm, shareable videos, social media images and copy, infographics, a scavenger hunt and more, making it easier than ever to help spread sustainability messages that resonate with consumers. We encourage farmers to access this toolkit and see how the resources can help connect with Gen Z. Whether it is adding a poster to a popular resting spot on a farm tour or posting an infographic on social media, no effort is too small when it comes to helping build authentic connections with our next generation of consumers.  
To bring this campaign to life, Midwest Dairy is working with many partners. Recently, we teamed up with three social media influencers (@sustainablyxi, @andhattiemakesthree and @bigdeliciouslife) to reach key audiences by using short- and long-form video content to showcase how dairy is sustainable in several ways. The videos highlight the parallels between small changes we all make in our homes to live more sustainable lives, and things dairy farmers have been doing for years – including composting, recycling and conserving energy. This effort resulted in more than 2,500,000 impressions, extending our messages to those who might not otherwise see them. We plan to continue using influencer partnerships to connect with Gen Z. Another successful campaign partnership was with Downtown Sioux Falls for its annual Riverfest event earlier this fall. Currently, we are working to build more partnerships, from retailers to schools, that will help bring the “What You Do, Dairy Does Too” theme to life across the region, allowing consumers to see the modern, engaging messaging in action.
After interacting with this campaign, we want consumers to view dairy farmers and dairy foods as far more progressive than they originally thought, understanding that dairy is produced with the utmost care for the planet. We want them to feel good about choosing dairy and truly believe what we do is good for the Earth, our neighbors and our communities. And, we know that if we work together as a united dairy community to build trust where our values align – in our commitment to sustainability – we can reach Gen Z now to ensure a strong future and demand for dairy.