Norco has launched an augmented reality game to give children a taste of farm life
September 19, 2023
It's not uncommon to see headlines highlighting how little children understand about how their food is produced, with research indicating that many children believe their food comes from a supermarket or their own refrigerator.
While many children never visit farms, technology now allows farms to be transported to children - at least in a technological sense.
Recognising this, Norco, Australia's oldest and largest dairy co-operative, has created an immersive, augmented reality game called "Cow's Play" to educate children about where their milk comes from and the importance of animal wellbeing and enrichment in producing great tasting milk.
"Cows Play" challenges players to keep Norco's virtual cows, Elle and Belle, happy through various forms of enrichment while delivering fun and engaging dairy facts.
The game, a dairy category first, can only be played between August and November by scanning the QR code on specially marked labels on Norco's two and three litre Full Cream and Lite milks, as well as two litre Lactose Free Full Cream milk.
Ben Menzies, Norco's General Manager Commercial and Strategy, stated that the Norco community of dairy farmers has been raising healthy dairy herds since 1895 but is constantly 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.”
Emily Dickson, a PhD student at the University of New England, presented on ways farmers can provide enrichment to promote better welfare for their herds at the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium last November.
The integration of ball games and intervals of play time for cows is one example of enrichment being tested by Norco dairy farmers Scott and Renae Connell.
Bringing Norco's AR "Cows Play" programme to life on the farm, the Connells are actively monitoring the positive effects of ball playtime on their herds as a precursor to any future research studies on cow enrichment conducted in Australia.
They are featured in a new integrated TV and outdoor advertising campaign to promote "Cows Play."