By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN - It’s June is Dairy Month, and the Midwest Dairy Council has launched a “Dairy Makes Sense” campaign to help boost the sales of dairy products during the current economic state.
During a recent survey released by the council, more than half of consumers find price the most important factor when grocery shopping, rather than nutrition.
“This points to a need for more information about nutrient-rich foods, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, that deliver more bang for your buck than other options at the grocery store,” said Stephanie Cundith, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council.
Locally, The Marketplace ‘s dairy manager, Kevin Maine, has seen a consumer change in dairy products, especially when it comes to purchasing the store’s name brand, Land O Lakes, versus the store brand, Dairy Fresh. There is a cost difference of about 80 cents (skim milk prices as of June 1).
Even though milk prices have come down about a dollar since last year due to a decrease in gas prices and distribution costs, Maine has seen a consumer shift from the more pricey organic and all natural (no added growth hormones) milks to the less expensive store brand.
Land O Lakes has seen this too, and is trying to entice consumers by adding coupons on their milk cartons, trying to bring back the brand loyalty.
Though there have been changes in milk, consumers seem to buy what they want when it comes to cheese and other dairy products like butter and yogurt, Maine said.
Recently, The Marketplace added a locally produced cheese by Sunny Road from Morning Star Farm, west of Cokato.
Despite the higher price, the specialty cheese is doing well, according to Maine.
“When is comes to cheese, people buy what they want,” he said.
Gary Stanley of Gary’s Family Foods in Dassel hasn’t seen a consumer change in milk consumption, and sales haven’t gone down.
When it comes to nutrients, milk provides nine essential nutrients at about 25 cents per glass, according to Cundith of the Midwest Dairy Council.
“Consumers should purchase more nutrient-rich foods such as dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, and avoid empty-calorie foods that provide little or no nutrition at a high cost,” she said.
Cundith recommends that as consumers cut costs, they look for foods that provide both economic and nutritional values, instead of just shopping for lower-priced or discounted foods.
According to the dairy council, milk is one of the most economical sources of high-quality protein and calcium, both of which are important nutrients.
Also, yogurt can deliver almost a third of one’s daily calcium in a 8-ounce serving.
For more information and for dairy-rich recipes, visit www.dairymakessense.com.
Breakfast on the Farm
In honor of “June is Dairy Month,” families can experience just what goes into a dairy operation with Breakfast on the Farm, Saturday, June 20.
The event is hosted by Goldview Farms, the family farm of Greg and Faye Bakeberg, near Howard Lake.
“It’s about educating the public and seeing the inside of a farm, not just the outside,” said Faye Bakeberg.
The family had heard of other counties doing this type of event and wanted to bring it to Wright County, she said.
There will be a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for $2 a person, with children age 5 and under eating for free.
There will be a variety of family activities including wagon rides, a tour of the farm, educational agriculture booths, free ice cream, and much more.
Staffed by the Dassel-Cokato and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Chapters will be a children’s barnyard.
Children will also receive a free picture taken with one of the calves.
Any of the profits from this first-time event will go to the local food shelf, Bakeberg said.
Due to limited parking space, a free shuttle from HLWW High School is required of visitors for the event, but handicapped accessibility is available on the farm site.
For more information about the event, visit www.hlwwffa.com/breakfastonthefarm.