Thursday, November 14, 2013

U.S. Dairy Industry Highlights: Focus on the Retail Landscape and the Evolving Consumer

Photo Source: Promised Land Dairy

During the weeks leading up to the International Dairy Show, which wrapped up a week ago, a number of noteworthy news items were sent to me. I am rediscovering them as I slowly catch up on email. In case you missed them, please allow me to share.

Cross Merchandising of Dairy in the Supermarket

The Midwest Dairy Association, along with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, contributed cross-merchandising success tips to an article recently published in Progressive Grocer. The article highlights how dairy can be merchandised throughout the center store and other perimeter departments. This leads not only to increased sales of dairy products but all categories merchandised with dairy. The article can be accessed HERE.

 For more information on the Midwest Dairy Association, visit HERE.

For more information on the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, visit HERE.

Photo Source: Wegman’s

Groceries Become a Guy Thing

According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal, food marketers are changing their products to quietly signal to men that they should eat them. This is especially trending in yogurt. Read the article HERE.

IDDBA’s What’s in Store 2014 Provides Sales and Trends Data

What’s in Store 2014, the latest edition of the annual trends publication of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), is now available. This 230-page report details consumer and industry trends affecting the in-store dairy case, cheese case, bakery, deli and foodservice departments. Its 200-plus tables, developed in cooperation with leading industry firms and associations, include department sales, per capita consumption, consumer preferences, system 2, UPC and private label sales data.

The top food and beverage trend is the consumer’s move toward wanting products that are fresh, more real and less processed. Health and indulgence are no longer considered mutually exclusive. Nutritional health is taking a backseat to foods that are less processed with easily identifiable and few ingredients. Taste and quality, and the indulgence surrounding those attributes, are now part of the health equation.

For more information, visit HERE.

From the Dairy Council of California’s Fall Nutrition Trends Newsletter
On Protein. Protein’s list of health benefits continues to grow, but unfortunately, dairy is not always recognized as a good source. The dairy industry has the power to change this…and we must act now.

Consumers are increasingly interested in protein for its long list of health benefits—from muscle building and exercise recovery to weight loss, satiety and healthy aging. Sixty-three percent of consumers reportedly consider protein when they purchase packaged foods and beverages. The benefits of protein extend from babies all the way to seniors, creating opportunities to target specific subgroups—teenage athletes, for example—with messages around protein’s health benefits.

Food manufacturers and commodity groups are piggybacking on this trend, with many companies adding extra protein to their products, hoping for higher sales. Protein substitutes and novel plant proteins are also emerging. Some tout the benefits of plant protein, challenging the traditional wisdom that animal protein is superior.

The protein trend is thought to be here to stay, with its preventative power against the burgeoning rates of obesity and diabetes. Consumers generally do not associate protein with dairy products, rather turning to meat, beans and eggs for their protein sources. Dairy Council of California has efforts aimed at educating health professional and consumer audiences about milk and dairy foods as a high-quality protein source. There are opportunities for the dairy industry to aggressively market products as being “good” or “excellent” sources of protein.

On Yogurt. Yogurt sales are stronger than ever. This is being driven by Greek yogurt and consumers’ increased understanding of probiotics. Young adults—those between 18 and 34 years of age—have largely driven this increase, seeking yogurt for its overall health benefits and as a breakfast food. In turn, young adults are feeding it to their children, fostering another generation of yogurt eaters.

Added sugars will be an issue with yogurt, as some public health professionals are labeling sugar “the new tobacco” and linking it to the obesity crisis. Keeping sugar levels to a minimum while preserving taste will help yogurt maintain its current health halo.

Many are seeking the benefits of probiotics in yogurt, which now extend beyond traditional immune system and intestinal benefits to effects such as decreasing obesity, reducing blood pressure, helping with satiety, minimizing anxiety and depression, enhancing brain function and even reducing breast cancer risk. While these benefits have not been proven beyond a doubt, some researchers are encouraging the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee to include probiotics in general recommendations for a healthy diet for overall—rather than specific—health benefits.

On Health. While obesity rates have stabilized for both adults and children, the incidence remains high. One-third of adults and 17% of children are classified as obese, and concerted public health efforts are aimed at reducing rates. The American Medical Association now officially recognizes obesity as a disease. Although recognition does not have legal implications, experts think it may open the door to reimbursement for prevention and treatment of overweight.

Concurrently, incidence of metabolic syndrome—the cluster of risk factors for heart disease that includes high blood pressure, overweight and unhealthy blood glucose and lipid levels—is dropping due to better control of symptoms such as blood pressure and cholesterol. However, incidence is still high at 23%, and efforts will continue to focus on prevention.

A number of observational studies continue to link higher milk and yogurt consumption to lower rates of metabolic syndrome, with components such as calcium, vitamin D, protein, dairy fat and trans-palmitoleic acid possibly acting as protective agents. Clinical trials and mechanistic studies are needed to support these findings; however, this could bear out to be very positive for the dairy industry.

Dairy Council of California continues to position milk and milk products as an irreplaceable part of a healthy diet that helps maintain body weight. Plans are in place to educate health professionals about dairy’s emerging benefits to metabolic syndrome.

For more information on the Dairy Council of California, visit HERE.

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