IT’S not unusual to see headlines highlighting how little children know about how their food is produced, with research showing many kids think their food simply comes from a supermarket or their own refrigerator.
Recognising this, Australia’s oldest and largest dairy co-operative, Norco, has developed an immersive, augmented reality game called “Cow’s Play” to help educate kids on where their milk comes from, and the important role animal wellbeing and enrichment has in producing great tasting milk.
The aim of “Cows Play” is for players to keep Norco’s virtual cows – Elle and Belle – happy through different forms of enrichment while delivering fun and engaging dairy facts.
A dairy category first, the game can only be played by scanning the QR code on specially marked labels on Norco’s two and three litre Full Cream and Lite milks, and two litre Lactose Free Full Cream milk between August and November.
Norco’s General Manager Commercial and Strategy, Ben Menzies said Norco’s community of dairy farmers have been raising healthy dairy herds since 1895 but are continually striving to remain at the forefront of dairy industry innovation.
“Our farmers know that being at the forefront of animal enrichment is key to producing the tastiest, most nutritious milk,” he said.
“We felt utilising technology in the form of augmented reality gamification to educate our youngest consumers on where their food comes from, was a way of creating and sharing educational content in a fun and contemporary way.
“As the number of dairy farms continue to decline in Australia, we believe this platform enables our next generation of consumers to feel connected to where their food comes from, and more importantly connected to the hard-working Australian dairy farmers that play an integral role in nourishing Australian families every day.”
The importance of “Cows Play” for Elle and Belle
At the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium last November University of New England PhD student Emily Dickson presented on ways farmers can provide enrichment to promote better welfare for their herds.
An example of enrichment includes the integration of ball games and intervals of play time for cows, which is being tested by Norco dairy farmers Scott and Renae Connell.
Bringing Norco’s AR “Cows Play” program to life on farm, the Connell’s are actively monitoring the positive impacts of ball playtime on their herds, a precursor to any further research studies on cow enrichment undertaken in Australia.
They feature in an integrated TV and outdoor advertising campaign now being rolled out to promote “Cows Play”.