Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dairy Food Trends 2013

It’s that time of year to reflect on the past 12 months and resolve to improve during the next. As a dairy products trend tracker for almost 20 years, I can honestly say that 2012 has been one of the most dynamic times in the industry. The opportunities to innovate are incredible and I am honored to be a part of the process.

Thanks to the dedicated and passionate dairy industry that I think of as family, the Daily Dose of Dairy has become a global industry success. Colleagues have made suggestions and many will be implemented in 2013. Look for a new and exciting Daily Dose of Dairy when you receive your first e-newsletter of the New Year on Monday, January 7. That’s right; the Daily Dose of Dairy is taking a two-week hiatus to spend time with family and friends (and to be redesigned.)

Happy Holidays to you and yours…and in closing, here are my Top-Five Projections of what innovations in dairy will look like in 2013.

1) It’s All About the Protein…All types of dairy foods will be touting their protein content. And if whey proteins are specifically a part of the formulation, the term “whey” will start being broadcast on primary display panels. Whey is not the same four-letter word it was just a decade ago. 

2) Kids’ Products…Most food product developers ignored the 12-and-under demographic this past year, as they feared being attacked by consumer activist groups who had pretty much decided that animal-derived foods were responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic. But parents have become more educated…many are even demanding that schools bring chocolate milk back to the lunch program (hurray!). New dairy products designed for kids’ palates, appetites and nutritional needs will be in abundance in 2013!

3) Hand Crafted, Artisanal, Local—Tell a Story…As the economy improves, those who can afford dairy foods not made by the “big guys” will seek out such products. Naturalness is key. But what actually is naturalness? It’s the time from production to consumption...not necessarily the ingredients in the product. Compelling stories are the future of dairy foods marketing. The manufacturer must express his passion for the product. Tell a story. Discuss the origin of ingredients, the evolution of a recipe, the history of the brand, etc. Telling a story adds value...and allows a marketer to charge a premium. Consumers want proof as to why they should pay more for a product. Storytelling provides benefits that exceed the cost of the product.

4) Fruits and Nuts…These ingredients play into the aforementioned trend. Talk about where those blueberries in your yogurt were harvested…or the nutritional value of the almonds adorning your cheese log. Consumers understand that fruits and nuts are healthful choices. Don’t skimp on these inclusions if you are adding them to your products. Invest in quality and customers will embrace the product.

5) Targeting a Day Part…From morning milk to snacking cheese, tell consumers that your product is designed to satisfy the nutritional and sensory needs of a particular day part. Historically marketers have shied away from this, as they don’t want to limit product-use occasions. (Think boxed cereal…many still think of it as only for breakfast. Not in the Berry household! As long as the cereal is fortified with more than 10 vitamins and minerals, and includes whole grains, my kids can eat bowls of cereal with milk for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.) Nevertheless, today’s consumer appreciates day-part-specific foods, as they are so time deprived, meal solutions make life easier. Tell them it’s a snack-size yogurt. Or, that the sliced cheese makes the perfect lunch-time sandwich.

Hope these observations and predictions help you start the New Year off right!

In closing, if you have a suggestion, a new product, an idea…please let me know. ( We are in this together. And the best present I could receive from my dairy industry colleagues would be for you to encourage your coworkers to sign up for the Daily Dose of Dairy.

Best Wishes for the Best Holiday Season Ever!
Donna Berry (on Dairy!)

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