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Holy cow! Joe Mauer released – as Kemps spokesman

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If Twins fans want to see Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, they will have to go to the ball park, not the grocery store.

Mauer, whose face has graced numerous Kemps boxes in recent years, will no longer be pictured on the St. Paul dairy's malt cups, ice cream buckets or novelty products. He won't be on their billboards or in their television spots or make personal appearances with his mother, Teresa, either. The Star Tribune reports that Kemps three-year contract using Mauer to market its products expired at the end of 2013 and wasn’t re-upped.

The Business Journal's account of the contract's expiration included the mention of the backlash that Mauer felt as a result of his endorsements. "When he struggled in 2011, he said that his ads for Kemps and Sony, then in heavy rotation, were helping fuel criticism that he wasn't focused enough on improving his game," the story said.

Mauer is No. 31 on Forbes magazine's list of the world's highest paid athletes. "Injuries and the Twins' struggles have dinged Mauer's endorsement earnings, which were once among the highest in the game," the story said.

Moving away from Mauer, Kemps will focus its marketing efforts on its centennial; the Lathrop-Kemps ice cream company was founded in 1914. In its hundredth year of business, Kemps does about $800 million in annual sales and has 1,265 employees, including 850 in Minnesota.

The Mauer news comes as the Star Tribune published a major business profile of Kemps, noting that while the longtime Minnesota brand has coped with a national drop in milk consumption and four corporate owners over the past 15 years, it has still managed to grow sales. The story notes that the dairy has built a reputation for developing innovative consumer products and was an early developer of yogurt, including frozen and Greek varieties.

Kemps has top market share in milk, ice cream and frozen ice cream novelties in the Twin Cities and is No. 1 in ice cream and milk in Milwaukee. Milk, including flavored varieties, accounts for about half of sales and remains Kemps’ biggest product category. Ice cream and frozen yogurt account for about 25 percent, while “cultured” products such as sour cream and cottage cheese make up the remaining 25 percent.

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