Progressive Grocer Independent

DEC 2016

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26 | Progressive Grocer Independent | December 2016 Dairy Departments that you can achieve," Liebich notes. "[MDA] is talking about how consumers are changing, and what shoppers are expecting from the place that they shop and the brands they buy, which is increased trans- parency. ey want to know more about where the product came from. ey care more about the experi- ence," she adds. With the IGA partnership, MDA is bringing its idea for a revamped department to single-store or small-chain operators to show that independents can make signifi- cant strides in ushering the depart- ment into the new millennium. Simple Changes "We've made a lot of changes in the store, things as simple as product adjacency or clearing out some of the clutter within the department, to things like adding signage to make the categories easier to be found and shopped," Liebich says. For example, when it comes to product adjacency, Liebich suggests not having the milk, cheese and yogurt right next to each other. Instead, have one of them an- chor each end of the department and merchandise the third in the middle to make customers shop the entire department from end to end. Other simple changes include posting nutritional information and how dairy nutrition can play a role in keeping family members healthy. Also, think about meal solutions you can offer in the department. e pilot store, Mahomet IGA, in Mahomet, Ill., features an end cap with a rotating lineup of products. "Sometimes it will be dinner solu- tions, sometimes it will be breakfast meal solutions," Liebich notes. "e store also has another little section with Fuel Your Day healthy snack- ing options, so there's these different components to it." Liebich also suggests that stores play on the local aspect of milk, which "is traveling from the farm to the grocery store in about 48 hours," she notes. "Milk is one of the most local products in a grocery store. Everyone thinks of produce as the lo- cal leader. But really, it's dairy from a consistent, year-round standpoint." Part of the reinvention program includes QR codes that give consum- ers instant access to information about dairy products. Once they scan the code that's featured in the depart- ment, customers can access the menu that guides them to recipes featuring specific dairy products, weekly ads for the store and general information about the nutritional aspects of dairy foods, as well as where the products come from and how the animals are treated on the farms. After the pilot program has been operating for a while in the Ma- homet IGA, Liebich plans to create a step-by-step guide for other stores to implement the improved department in their own locations. She also encourages retailers to pay close attention to their stores. "ink about how much time and energy you've invested into some of these other perimeter depart- ments," Liebich says. "Dairy is also a perimeter department and really should be treated the same way. If you create that same experience, or a similar enhanced experience, you'll be rewarded for your efforts." PGI The Changing Dairy Consumer Today's grocery retailers need to consider how they meet the needs of today's changing consumer. It matters in all departments, but especially the dairy department. Consumers of all generations are interested in the origin of their food, notes Cindy Sorensen, VP business development for the St. Paul, Minn.- based Midwest Dairy Association. They want to know the process of produc- ing it and who the farmer is. Consumers are becoming increasingly more educated. They're on their phones while shopping, researching, she observes. "Before they even walk into your store, they were visiting your website, they were visiting a product website, they were going to social media for this product and they were talking to their friends," Sorensen adds. "They're do- ing all kinds of research prior to ever stepping into your store." All of this is manifesting in the clear label, a step above the more well- known clean label. "That's the whole minimal processing, minimal ingredi- ents," explains Jeremy Johnson, education director for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, in Madison, Wis. "It's more than the pure and simple ingredients; it's actually where they came from and how the animals were cared for." The more information that retailers can provide about the products they're selling, the better off they'll be in meeting the needs of today's consumer.

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