Dairy Council of California recently held its 14th Functional Foods Task Force meeting. The task force is a group convened annually to track changes in the external environment that affect the dairy industry. This 15-member group, which I proudly am a member and have been since the beginning, is composed of industry experts from around the country, representing research and development, academia, marketing, education and communications.
Discussions ensue around nutrition and dairy research, public policy, regulations and consumer perceptions that impact dairy. Strategies are outlined that Dairy Council of California and the industry can pursue to optimize dairy’s positioning in a rapidly changing environment.
Strategies identified for the industry include:
- Ride the protein wave.
- Label products and educate consumers about milk’s nutrients beyond calcium.
- Emphasize that dairy foods belong in well-balanced vegetarian diets.
- Consider technology applications and venues to reach adolescent and young adult consumers.
- Continue to develop and market products to specific segments of the population.
- Maintain the market hold on dairy as the perfect carrier for prebiotics and probiotics.
- Develop messages around the satiety effects of dairy products.
- Support research on dairy’s role in preventing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Support research on bioactive milk protein, oligosaccharides and other dairy components.
- To minimize industry-funded research bias, register trials appropriately when funding research and insist on rigorous study designs.
- Use third-party experts to increase credibility.