MADISON, WIS. — This holiday season, the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is debuting ‘The More the Merrier,’ a retail promotion aimed to help customers craft specialty cheese boards.

“There is something for everyone and when it comes to the holiday season, it really is all about ‘the more the merrier,’” said Michelle Trowbridge, director of retail channel marketing. “The campaign is focused all-around cheese boards and events that center around cheese boards. We know that shoppers want to spend more time with family and friends. It is a season for more cheese, more cheese boards and for retailers to engage their shoppers in more cross-promotional opportunities.”

Retailers that participate in the campaign will receive a display contest kit that includes dry erase counter cards, case clings, blade signs, cheese board standee, floor decals, in-case signs, t-shirts, hats, stickers and buttons. Retailers will also receive digital and social promotional materials.

The fourth quarter is traditionally a high drive time for specialty cheese, and Trowbridge expects that to be the case in 2021.

“Keeping an omnichannel approach and offering more specialty cheeses through pick-up and delivery will provide shoppers with opportunities to see and hear about their favorite and new cheeses,” she said. “Retailers can also leverage their social channels to include more education to promote their specialty cheeses and encourage purchase of other specialty products that fill up their baskets.”

As the pandemic continues to impact merchandising techniques, Trowbridge stressed that it’s important for retailers to provide education and inspiration that increases shoppers’ confidence in how to serve and cook with specialty cheese. Seasonal flavor favorites to zone in on include garlic and herbs, in addition to a rise in sweet cheeses flavored with fruits and spices. The holiday season also brings with it a lot of fun wine- and spirit-soaked cheeses. 

Retailers should show their shoppers that it’s easy to make beautiful things with a cheese board. Trowbridge noted that a good cheese board includes three to give cheeses with a variety of textures and styles.

“When shoppers reach for specialty cheese, they are also picking up a handful of additional items, doubling the value of an average shopping basket, driving more demand overall for a deli department’s specialty items,” she said. “Adding spreads, jams, charcuteries, fruit and crackers not only enhances the flavor of the cheeses but gives a board a look of bounty.

To encourage shoppers, Trowbridge suggested that retailers host in-person and virtual experiences that give customers the opportunity to learn about and purchase new cheeses.

“Everyone is missing family, friends and opportunities to celebrate together and we expect to see increased sales as people are more comfortable gathering and sharing meals together,” she said. “This holiday season, we will see people getting together in real life to cherish what matters most including food.”

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