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Midwest Dairy Launches New Podcast on Issues and Trends
Kansas Ag Connection - 09/11/2018

As a way to have deeper conversations about evolving consumer trends and their impact on the dairy industry, Midwest Dairy launched a new podcast, Dairy on the Air, which is now available on Midwest Dairy's website and podcast streaming apps including iTunes and Stitcher.

Hosted by Midwest Dairy's CEO Lucas Lentsch, Dairy on the Air is a series of 20 to 30-minute episodes that feature relevant conversations with dairy farmers, industry experts and others about a variety of topics, issues and trends impacting the dairy community. The first two episodes, which were released this past week, Lentsch is joined by dairy farmers Barb Liebenstein from Dundas, Minnesota, and Alex Peterson of Trenton, Mo., as they discuss their reactions to the recent Dairy Experience Forum that took place in Bloomington, Minn.

Episode 1: The Changing Consumer focuses on the forum's live consumer focus group, which featured a panel of unbiased consumers who could be identified as what the dairy community refers to as conflicted health seekers, sincerely looking to make the right choices for themselves and their families. They discussed their perceptions of food, how they make their purchasing decisions and their overall thoughts about dairy. Based on panelists' comments shared during the focus group, it was clear that while each made different decisions based on their lifestyle, most decisions were made based on choosing foods and dairy products that align with their personal values.

"At the end of the day, consumers are just like us," says Liebenstein. "They are just looking to make the right choices for their families."

Episode 2: Innovation and the Future of Food centers around learnings from Mike Lee, food designer and founder of Alpha Food Labs and The Future Market, who shared insights and research on the 21st Century Eater, how they choose food based on their values, and the trend toward personalization and customization. Lentsch, Liebenstein and Peterson talk about Lee's research and insights into consumer behavior and how success in the marketplace is no longer about supply, but about demand--and in a sea of choice, differentiation is crucial.

Lee commented, "Future eaters don't just want good taste, they want foods that are healthy, sustainable and provide great experiences." During this episode, the group discusses how dairy has many of the attributes that consumers are looking for, yet they aren't naturally seeing dairy as fitting in this category. The group asks why that is and what the dairy industry can do about it.

Lentsch, Liebenstein and Peterson also discuss their biggest takeaways from a panel discussion with Brad Gruen, vice president of marketing at fairlife and Chad Vincent, CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin about making an emotional connection with consumers, the importance of transparency and the power of influence in driving dairy purchases.

"Dairy on the Air gives us a platform to have open and honest conversations about what is impacting our industry. We're eager to have the opportunity to discuss trends and insights that push us outside our comfort zone and help us think a little differently in order to move the dairy industry forward and build demand for dairy foods," says Lentsch. "We learned a lot of valuable insights from the Dairy Experience Forum about not only how we bring our products to market, but how we can have more engaging, values-based conversations to meet the consumer where he or she is at. We wanted to use these first two episodes of Dairy on the Air to share what we heard with those who couldn't make it to the forum, and as a way to continue the conversation."

The first two episodes of Dairy on the Air are available for download now on iTunes and Stitcher and on MidwestDairy.com with additional episodes in the works.

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