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!)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dairy Owns December

For no other holiday season do so many consumers indulge in the finest of foods, with all types of dairy products taking center stage. From the cheese platter to buttered rolls to real whipped cream coffee toppers, dairy rules the period from when the Thanksgiving turkey gets carved all the way to the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

With so many channels of social media available to dairy product marketers, get LOUD about making this year a Merry Dairy Christmas! Get connected and provide your customers with dairy tips.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board can serve as a resource with its new website (, which is devoted to dairy-based dips, expected appetizers on holiday party buffets. That’s because real dairy products are the foundation of nearly every good dip recipe, and that’s certainly true for the more than 50 recipes at From cream cheese and sour cream to natural cheeses--dairy gives dips a full flavor and rich, creamy consistency. Recipes on the site are organized by category, with options for sweet dips, savory dips, holiday dips and more.

And here are two of my favorites—always a hit with friends and family. If you market any of the ingredients used in these recipes, feel free to share, and even modify to boast your brand.

Berry on Dairy’s “Simply the Best Buffalo Chicken Dip”
Dairy Ingredients:
1-8-ounce brick of cream cheese*
¼-cup real blue cheese crumbles
The Rest:
1/3-cup ranch dressing*
1-12-ounce can cooked chicken, drained
1/3-cup hot wing sauce
(* = Use either light or regular varieties; never fat free.)
Directions: Mix all five ingredients together until smooth and bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. (Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator and are great the next day—warm or cold--on top of a toasted bagel.)

Berry on Dairy’s “Caramelized Onion Dip”
Dairy Ingredients:
4-ounces cream cheese*
½-cup sour cream*
4-tablespoons salted butter
The Rest:
¼-cup vegetable oil
2-large yellow onions
½-cup mayonnaise*
¼-teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1-teaspoon kosher salt
½-teaspoon black pepper
(* = Use either light or regular varieties; never fat free.)
Directions: Cut onions in half and slice into 1/8-inch wide strips. This should equal about 3 cups. Heat the butter and oil over medium heat, adding onions and both peppers and salt. Saute for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook mixture for 20 to 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions should be soft and brown. Very little liquid should be present in pan. Remove from heat and cool. Separately, combine cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in a bowl. Beat until smooth. Hand mix in cooled onion mixture. Serve at room temperature. (Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator and are great the next day as a sandwich spread.)
Have a Merry “Berry” Dairy Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2012

It’s the Milk: Upstate New York Is Blessed; Cornell Assists Industry with Innovation

So, just when I think it’s the end of the world, my challenging 10-year old brings home a straight A report card. Did I say challenging child? Did I say straight A? I swear no bribes were involved. He pulled it off on his own. And when his proud mama asked what I did to help him achieve this, he, and I swear, responded, “It’s all that milk, mom!”
That’s what the folks in Upstate New York are also saying these days.

“I think if you were to look around the world, you would not find a better place to milk cows and turn that milk into consumer goods than you would here in this region of the United States,” said Patrick Hooker, former state commissioner of agriculture and current director of Agribusiness Development at the Empire State Development Corp., in a November 8, 2012 article in The soil and temperature offer sustainable conditions, he said, and there are numerous advantages to the location.

Read the complete article HERE.

What does all this milk mean to New York’s economy?

According to Hooker: “(There are) 60 million consumers up and down the eastern part of the United States, all well within a day’s drive of this production area. And you’re talking about an ethnic and cultural diversity that you don’t see anywhere else in the world, either. And it is that sort of consumer demand that has driven this dairy industry here.”

In other words, there’s a lot of high-quality milk just waiting to be turned into products for this culturally diverse population, products that remind them of their home country. (Think Greek yogurt.) What an opportunity to innovate!

Due to such demand, while overall manufacturing jobs dropped 9% in New York state from 2005 to 2011, the state’s dairy manufacturing job base increased by 3%. To fill new dairy jobs, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences plays a big role in training the workforce and retraining displaced workers from lost manufacturing jobs. The university is also in the processing of developing new certificate, continuing education and possibly degree programs to meet these demands.

Cornell is helping the dairy industry innovate

Cornell’s involvement with the dairy industry stretches back almost 100 years, when what is now the Department of Food Science was formed. To assist with putting this milk to good use, the department recently hosted a forum addressing the current yogurt boom and the ways it can benefit the state’s dairy industry.

The university is in the process of completing a $105 million renovation to Stocking Hall, which will include a pilot plant where industries can research, develop and run small-batch trials for new products; and a new 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art dairy processing plant that will process annually some 1.5 million pounds of raw milk from Cornell cows, and 20,000 gallons of yogurt a year, along with cheeses, ice cream and other dairy products. The facilities, which are slated to open in spring 2013, will offer sites to train students and give workshops to industry professionals.

To read more about Cornell’s capabilities, visit HERE.

It’s all about the milk.