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Dairy Iowa Event is June 8

Dairy Iowa, a partnership between individuals and organizations invested in Iowa’s dairy industry, will hold its annual June Dairy Month event June 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Heartland Agribition Center in Independence. The meeting’s keynote speaker is Kevin Murphy of Food Chain Communications, addressing the challenges faced by the dairy community from misinformation and extremist attitudes, and how to respond.

The day’s events are concurrent with a youth communications workshop presented by Midwest Dairy. All Iowa dairy youth enthusiasts are encouraged to attend.

The program includes a panel of dairy farmers sharing their labor-saving and value-added efforts, as well as roundtable discussions among many of the groups who work on behalf of dairy throughout Iowa. In addition to Midwest Dairy and the Iowa State Dairy Association, participants will include the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Northeast Iowa Community College, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa State University.

In addition, the meeting will host the presentation of the annual Ralph Keeling Awards given to individuals dedicated to Iowa’s dairy legacy, and scholarships presented by Midwest Dairy Association and the Iowa State Dairy Association.

Those wishing to attend may visit IowaDairy.org for more information, or may contact Mitch Schulte at mschulte@midwestdairy.com or 319.775.3451.

Wisconsin Cheese Named Official State Dairy Product

Wisconsin has long been synonymous with cheese, but the state legislature has made it official – Wisconsin cheese is now the state dairy product. Wisconsin cheese joins a list of prominent state symbols including the dairy cow, designated the state’s domestic animal in 1971, and milk, Wisconsin’s official state beverage since 1987.

For more than a century, Wisconsin has led the nation in cheese production, producing over three billion pounds of cheese annually. Wisconsin cheesemakers combine generations of tradition with cutting edge innovation to craft the finest cheese, and Wisconsin is the only place outside of Europe to offer a prestigious Master Cheesemaker certification for veteran cheesemakers who have been making cheese for 10 years or more. The state regularly takes home top honors for its world class cheeses including a recent historic sweep of the cheese industry’s three major competitions – the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, the American Cheese Society Competition and the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The designation was proposed by a group of fourth grade students at Mineral Point Elementary in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. It was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker at a special signing event at Mineral Point Elementary on June 1. WMMB also participated in the historic signing event and provided fresh squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds for the students to enjoy.

“We are so pleased to give Wisconsin cheese the recognition it deserves by declaring it the official state dairy product,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Today we celebrate the efforts of Wisconsin’s hard-working dairy farmers and cheesemakers who make us all proud to live in America’s Dairyland.”

“This is a victory for everyone in the Wisconsin dairy community to celebrate–from the dairy farmers who produce the highest quality milk to the third and fourth generation cheesemakers who have dedicated their lives to making the best cheese in the world,” said Suzanne Fanning, Vice President, National Product Communications, of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “We’d like to thank Mrs. Livia Doyle and the efforts of her fourth grade class at Mineral Point Elementary for proposing the idea and seeing it all the way to the governor’s desk! This is a wonderful way for kids to learn about the state government and see that they can make a difference.”

“The students are absolutely thrilled that their voices have been heard,” said Livia Doyle, fourth grade Teacher at Mineral Point Elementary School. “Being a part of this legislative process has been more meaningful and educational than ever imagined! The students have experienced firsthand what it means to have an idea and to share it with our representatives.”

To learn more about Wisconsin cheese visit EatWisconsinCheese.com.

Peapod Expands Nutrition Filters

Imagine walking into a grocery store where all of the products displayed are based on a shopper’s personal tastes, dietary preferences and budget. Peapod, the country’s leading online grocer, aims to do just that by enabling shoppers to curate their own personalized digital aisle. An early innovator of smart shopping technology, Peapod has expanded its filtering capabilities to include four new nutrition filters: “Non-GMO,” “Sugar Free,” “Vegan” and “Vegetarian.” Adding to Peapod’s already robust sort feature, shoppers can now customize their searches with 16 features specific to nutrition preferences, in addition to a variety of filters including brand preference, price and sale specials.

“Our customers have told us that one of the pain points of traditional in-store grocery shopping is the overwhelming selection and the time it takes to read labels in order to find what they need,” said Carrie Bienkowski, Peapod’s Chief Marketing Officer. “While we all want options, we also want to find what we’re looking for and to do so quickly. As a digital player, we can create personalized, curated shopping experiences to help consumers find what they’re looking for with just a few clicks. These tools also help our shoppers discover new products that meet their specific needs.

The new filters are based on growing consumer food and nutritional trends, as well as Peapod’s own consumer insights. Forty-two percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing and non-GMO labeling is becoming increasingly important to consumers as sales of non-GMO products are predicted to hit $330 billion by 2019. Moreover, vegan and vegetarian filters were added as plant-based diets continue to gain popularity. Almost a third of Millennials indicate they eat a meat alternative product every day, and 70 percent consume them at least a few times a week.

“Our customers are often early adopters of emerging trends, “says Bienkowski. “As such, we’re able to utilize our keyword search data to stay ahead of the market. Since adding the “Organic” filter in 2014, it has become our most frequently used filter, and all Peapod carts now have at least one organic item.”

Enhanced smart shopping tools represent Peapod’s commitment to revolutionizing how consumers shop for groceries. With more than 12,000 products, including fresh produce; meat and seafood; deli items; natural and organic foods; and a wide range of prepared foods and easy-to-prep meal kits, Peapod is a one-stop shop for convenient meal solutions and weekly stock-ups of pantry staples.

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