Fluid milk consumption has been falling steadily in Canada for the past decade, reaching 64.2 litres per capita in 2019, down from an estimated 78.5 litres per capita in 2010. And when it was released in 2019, Canada’s new food guide was notable for placing less emphasis on cow’s milk than in previous years, leading Dairy Farmers of Canada to issue a statement saying it was “concerned” the food guide did not reflect research showing the health benefits of milk consumption. “There is abundant research that demonstrates that milk products with various fat content can be part of a healthy diet,” read the statement, in part.
However, Checchia says consumer buying patterns during the pandemic have been “positive” for dairy, despite volatility in the foodservice and hospitality sectors. “Early on, coffee and breakfast at home prompted a surge in fluid milk and cream sales, and this was accompanied by a baking frenzy that also had a positive impact on buying patterns,” she says.
While acknowledging there remains some marketplace uncertainty, Checchia says DFO remains focused on using marketing to show dairy’s goodness and versatility, as well as the feel-good moments associated with it during the holidays.
The brand recently brought back its “Big Believers” holiday spot showing excited children futilely trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve, complete with references to the time-honoured tradition of leaving out milk and cookies for Santa.