#Februdairy: pay attention millennials, you’re the dairy demographic of choice

As a consumer I have recently shut the farm gate on dairy. As described in earlier posts, it was something of a midlife u-turn, but there’ll be no going back. Yet surprisingly, and a little insultingly given it’s me what does the shopping and cooking, I may not be the prime focus of the dairy industry’s efforts to retain customers anyway.

A new toolkit, aimed at helping dairy farmers promote positive messages about the industry using social media, was launched at an international dairy conference in Glasgow last week. According to a report in Farmers Weekly (hello, the apostrophe?) the Tell It Like It Is toolkit is ‘part of a drive by the two organisations to promote dairy to “millennials” ‘. (I like the way the mag puts millennials double quotes – the punctuation equivalent of hand sanitiser.)

Generally speaking, most younger millennials #DGAF about where their B12 is coming from or whether it’s coming at all.

Not that I’m bothered to be overlooked by a dairy marketing campaign, but I can’t help think that of all the trees they could have barked up, they may have picked the wrong one – especially as the campaign materials focus heavily on micronutrient health messages. While that might just gain traction with the early millennials (now in their mid 30s) most younger millennials #DGAF about where their B12 is coming from or whether it’s coming at all.

<<Cue wiggly lines and tinkly music…cutaway to dream scene>>

Mum: (harassed and looking for shoe under sofa): Sorry hun, can’t give you a lift to school this morning. Got a meeting. Already late. Have you borrowed my work shoes?

Millennial: OH-MY-GOD! Why didn’t you tell me earlier – I’ve got art today and have to take my final piece and you know how huuuuge that is and it’s raining and I’ve got a blister and I’ve just straighten my hair and you promised last night and I’ve left my coat in form and I’ve got cramps and you never give me a lift apart from all the times you do and I HATE you!

Mum: Oh and we’re out of milk, you’ll have to have toast.

Millennial: (Now foaming uncontrollably and dangerously close to an untimely stroke) CAN THINGS EVEN GET ANY WORSE? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET 45% OF MY DAILY VITAMIN B2 REQUIREMENT NOW?

<<Click fingers, come back to the room>>

Speaking at the same conference, and reported in the same mag, independent livestock sustainability consultant, Dr Jude Capper, urged dairy farmers to ‘put more effort into educating consumers about the truths of the industry and use facts to promote meat and dairy products’.

As part of this, she challenged the room to embrace #Februdairy and, with almost endearing naivety, seemed confident that pictures of ‘cute calves’ are what’s needed to win over the undecideds.

As part of this, she challenged the room to embrace #Februdairy and, with almost endearing naivety, seemed confident that pictures of ‘cute calves’ are what’s needed to win over the undecideds.

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So how does that even work? Vegans practically invented viral video. As a movement, they are masters of social media. Take them on in that sphere by all means, but don’t expect to win…at least not by creating a ‘spoof’ Department of Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs on Facebook – part of a 1.2m consumer-focused promotional campaign about dairy products. Err, whaaaat?

As #Februdairy unfolds, we are likely to be in for a world of mud slinging over social media – some of it sane and edifying; a lot of it bitchy and purile. While that’s happening, perhaps more non-millennials, the ones with salaries and Ocado accounts, will be clicking on what they now see (thanks to good vegan advocacy on social media) as the healthier, more sustainable and less cruel plant-based alternatives to dairy.

The economy will, as ever, do the rest.

As Dr Capper herself points out: ‘No matter what we do on farm, if the shopper doesn’t buy it, we’re not going to have an industry.’

 

 

 

 

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