When you are the dairy-case manager for a supermarket, you’re on the “front lines” every day — and it can be very rewarding. To use a baseball analogy, you have a chance to hit a home run every time you talk to a consumer. But you also have to deal with hard grounders, bad hops, errant throws from left field, or high-inside fast balls. Consumers do ask the darndest questions.

Dairy-case managers need all the help they can get. Sometimes, the questions asked by consumers require extra care and diligence. Having access to good reference materials is a must.

Tom Gruenberger, dairy-category manager for a major supermarket chain in the Denver area, gave us insight last summer, as part of a “food systems tour” sponsored by Dairy Herd Management. He was very candid in his remarks, acknowledging there are times when he doesn’t have the necessary resource materials. On occasion, he must refer questions to the milk-processing and manufacturing facility rather than trying to answer them himself. 

At the conclusion of Gruenberger’s presentation, everyone in the room, including dairy-promotion representatives, re-dedicated themselves to improving dairy’s position in the marketplace. Everyone agreed that more resource materials should be available on the “front lines,” providing a consistent message to consumers. 

It was one of those seminal moments that inspired us to devote this month’s issue of Dairy Herd Management to “consumer talking points.” These talking points are designed to give you reference material when addressing consumers’ questions or concerns. 

We also plan to reprint them in booklet form for dairy-case managers, like Gruenberger, to distribute to customers. We would like to acknowledge the help of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy-checkoff program, in this project.

June is National Dairy Month, a great time to educate consumers on the important health and nutritional qualities of dairy products.