Thursday, November 8, 2012

Take a Look Through the Magic Mirror: Will Your Products Meet the Needs of Consumers in 2020?

Hopefully some of you remember the television show Romper Room. At the end of every episode, the hostess looked through her magic mirror and said random names of viewers she was claiming to see. It was always exciting when she saw me!

And it was very exciting to see so many industry relations at this week’s The Future of Dairy Forum in Rosemont, IL, presented by The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was founded by U.S. dairy farmers.

I saw Julie and Phil and Eva and Alan and Miriam and Bill and Shirish and Geri and Dave and Barb and oh, so many of you, it was great! For those of you who could not attend this forum where brand new research was presented that encourages “collaboration for innovation,” please watch this short VIDEO that summarizes the findings. 

The research explains that tomorrow’s consumer market represents billions of dollars of unrealized potential for dairy products—from milk to cheese to ice cream. To identify and activate growth opportunities for the dairy industry, the Innovation Center convened a task force to assess emerging trends, driving forces and demographic shifts that could impact dairy sales by the time we reach 2020.

Sounds far away? Well, it’s just about seven years from now. It’s been almost 13 years since Y2K, which seems like just yesterday. In other words, 2020 is right around the corner and you better be prepared to be a player in the consumer product goods segment.

The task force determined that the U.S. dairy industry can no longer count on significant increases in gross domestic product and population expansion to drive domestic growth. Because today’s consumers are processing information very differently from the turn-of-the-century and it’s very likely this will continue to evolve, the dairy industry must evolve, too. Who knows, maybe the iPad will be obsolete in seven years. Let’s face it; we are not going back in time. Rotary phones and typewriters will not return…but again, the same was said for turntables, and rumor has it that vinyl records are being produced once again.

Regardless, we must take the attitude of: See the Future of Dairy and Seize It.

According to the Innovation Center, by 2020, consumers will demand more from everything. If your products don’t deliver, driving significant business growth will be harder than ever. The Future of Dairy initiative will help you get smart about how to capitalize on emerging trends and driving forces to provide consumer-relevant offerings using dairy and dairy ingredients that will help grow your business. We must collaborate to innovate and partnering with the Innovation Center is your first step.

To read the entire Future of Dairy executive summary, click HERE and then scroll down. On this website you can also register to become a partner. This will give you access to insights to unlock further growth, both in the near future and further out.   

Here’s a quick overview of the Future of Dairy initiative. The research suggests that there are four overarching macro “states” influencing purchasing behavior, and dairy products can deliver in all four areas. These macro states are:
  1. Wellness
  2. Gratification/Enjoyment
  3. Convenience/Freedom
  4. Safety/Peace of Mind
Each of these macro states can be further dimensionalized according to specific needs within. And based on the rigorous assessment of these macro trends, coupled with the evolution of consumer needs and the current state of development of key dairy categories, the Innovation Center has identified 20 whitespace opportunity areas that product developers should focus their innovation efforts.
The Future of Dairy initiative equips dairy companies with a roadmap to navigate an increasingly complex marketplace environment and drive industry innovation to grow sales.
So, let’s fast forward to the future. Think about yourself and your individual and family needs. Hard to fathom, but my first born will be a senior in college and my baby a freshman. My husband and I might be empty nesters. We no longer will go through five gallons of milk a week! My metabolism will likely have slowed, which will have me seeking out nutrient-dense products that satiate and maintain lean body mass (and still taste delicious). Products that make any promise of decelerating aging will become our new household staples.
It’s predicted that by 2020, 33% of the population will be older than 55 years (not me yet!) and 50% more people will be managing diabetes. New product offerings must meet the dietary needs of aging boomers and those managing chronic conditions. They also must meet the needs of today’s youth, a generation who thinks energy comes from a 2-ounce bottle and dinner can be held in one hand while the other is playing Crazy Birds.
When I look through my magic mirror in seven years, I hope to see you and your company thriving.

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