Long before Beth Ford became CEO of Land O ‘Lakes, she washed toilets

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And I see a lot of companies doing this. I see that many CEOs value their people. What distinguishes and is unique in the cooperative model is its closeness, understanding of these families, knowledge of these communities. I don’t know if a business can be successful if employees are worried about their kids’ school or that their mom can’t go to the doctor. More understanding will help everyone.

Americans drink less milk. Does this affect how your farmers are producing products?

People say, “Look at this amazing plant-based growth!” It’s horrible. This is a small base. Because you know what else is growing? Livestock and dairy farming. So am I seeing a change in consumption? I do. I see a greater willingness to innovate and a greater willingness to try other things. I hope and believe that the consumer should do this.

What was behind the decision to change the logo last year?

I think people have a misunderstanding. Did they press me? Are we a PC? What is this message? When I took over as CEO, I started hearing very loudly that our best asset was that we were a cooperative and owned by farmers. People said, “If I knew this, I would have more of your products.” So we did the research and said that first of all we want to promote the farmer.

My responsibility is to say what is most relevant to consumers. And I tell you, we’ve added eight million new households to our butter franchise, and they were right about what I think is important – millennials, new consumers, consumers who aren’t familiar with Land O’Lakes. So it wasn’t pressure. It was a forward-looking marketing ploy of what we considered to be the most profitable positions. And this is the model of farmers and cooperatives.

Did you feel like the previous images were outdated, irrelevant, or even racist?

We didn’t talk about it like that. What we saw in consumer research was that it was confusing to buyers – just the Indian maiden and no cows? I mean, what is it? This message was incomprehensible to the consumer.

Given that the company’s headquarters are located near Minneapolis, how did you react to the assassination of George Floyd and its aftermath?

First, it was incredibly tragic. We spent time with our employees, listening. Because it just hurts. And what came out of that was that there was a sense of connection, a feeling: “I have no life experience as an African American, but I really want to understand this pain, this fear when someone tells me that they cannot let them. year old son will ride a bike. ” Or you hear stories of black executives from large companies being stopped on their way to work. I mean, it just isn’t allowed.

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