UK DAIRY sales are to be encouraged by a £1 million campaign highlighting the importance of 'human connections' over a cup of tea or coffee during the coronavirus crisis.

The initiative is being funded jointly by £500,000 from the UK Governments, £300,000 from Dairy UK members and £200,000 from AHDB.

It is hoped that the 12-week campaign – which goes live this week – will help boost demand for dairy production that has taken a hit because of the shutdown of the food service sector, particularly coffee and tea shops.

Chief executive of Dairy UK, Dr Judith Bryans, explained: “Everyday moments of human connection are especially important during this crisis. With this campaign we want to highlight the central and sometimes forgotten role that dairy plays as part of our everyday lives. We want to remind people of the importance of taking a moment to connect with each other while enjoying the foods they love, even if it is remotely.

"We can still take a moment for ourselves and others in these most challenging of times and we can still enjoy nutritious dairy.”

The milk campaign will appear on social media, digital and, for the first time in over a decade, on television. It’s expected that retailers, processors and farmers will come together to support the campaign.

AHDB's chief marketing officer, Christine Watts, added: "We know that consumers love milk and the great taste of dairy, but because it’s such an integral part of our lives, consumers tend to take it for granted – in the same way we all tend to take our day to day relationships as a given.”

Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing commented: “The efforts of the farming sector to keep Scotland fed in these unprecedented times has been truly astonishing. With the sudden closure of cafes and restaurants, some dairy farmers and producers have lost their market and are struggling. That is why I am delighted that the Scottish Government is contributing to this campaign to support dairy farming. I would encourage everyone in Scotland who can take part to support local farming and food production.”

NFU Scotland milk committee chairman, Gary Mitchell, remarked on the collaborative efforts behind the campaign: “One of the most encouraging aspects for me is that it is joint funded by not only AHDB and Governments, but also Dairy UK, the processor-led organisation representing farmer-owned co-ops and private dairy companies. This is truly a joined up industry initiative.

“As consumer purchasing patterns have dramatically changed, this campaign should increase the awareness and use of dairy products by the general public. It will be the perfect launch pad into World Milk Day ( on June 1.”