Friday, June 9, 2017

Dairy is Back (for now). It’s up to the industry (us) to keep it relevant.

This year’s International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association annual expo took place this week in Anaheim. As always, cheese dominated the show, but as you should have been able to tell from the innovations featured this week as a Daily Dose of Dairy, all dairy foods were prominently on display, everything from Mexican-seasoned squeeze sour cream to artisan butter to premium single-serve flavored milk. It’s a good time to be dairy. But it’s up to the industry to invest and to innovate to keep dairy relevant to today’s consumers.

Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke to expo attendees on the opening day. He shared his three tips for success: have a vision, don’t mind the naysayers and work your butt off. In between those three tips he emphasized the need to educate, to nourish and to volunteer. These are all things that dairy farmers—and those who process and market milk and dairy foods—do on a regular basis.
After an inspirational presentation about hard work, Arnold bid adieu to attendees with “I’ll be back.”

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The dairy industry does not want to ever say those words. We are thriving. Let’s stay there by staying relevant.

To stay relevant, it’s important to invest in your education. And it’s that time of year—IFT—when knowledge and science are just a session or supplier exhibit away. IFT kicks off in Las Vegas in little more than a week. Here are some must-attend sessions to assist with product innovation.

Monday, June 26, 10:30am-12:00pm, Session 13, “A Toolbox Approach to Developing High-Protein Dairy Foods”
In formulating protein-fortified foods, a developer often has to factor in physicochemical outcomes of higher protein-protein interactions, e.g., taste, texture and stability. Successful fortification with proteins is often accompanied with well-considered choices of formulation and processing adjustments to deliver a great-tasting food that meets consumer expectations. Dairy proteins provide numerous functional and nutritional advantages in this regard and are the benchmark for other proteins. Beyond nutrition, dairy proteins are considered good emulsifiers, texture builders, whipping agents (in some applications), fat substitutes, etc. Speakers in this symposium will provide insight on the macro- and molecular-level behavior of dairy proteins both in the ingredient state as well as in the context of high-protein food systems.

The session kicks off with Dr. Hasmukh Patel, a former faculty member of the Dairy Science Department at South Dakota State University and currently employed in the industry. The main focus of his research is to help understand the basic mechanisms and provide new knowledge to enable the design of new dairy and food ingredients and new products and processing technologies. He will address “The Landscape of Opportunities and Challenges in Formulating High Dairy-Protein Food.”

Next there’s Dr. Allen Foegeding, a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Food Science at North Carolina State University. His research has provided insight into how food biopolymers function in foods with a focus on whey proteins in forming sols, foams and gels. He will speak on “Shelf Life Issues with High Dairy-Protein Foods.”

Additional speakers will address issues surrounding the dispersibility and solubility of milk protein concentrates, which offer unique advantages for protein-fortified foods and beverages. Participants will also learn about astringency challenges with high-dairy-protein foods.


Monday, June 26, 3:30pm-5:00pm, Session 26, “Innovations in Spray-Dried, Fortified Dairy Products and Emulsions: Recent Advances and Product Applications”

Spray drying is still the most common technique used to produce dairy powders with prolonged shelf life. The demand for fortified dairy products and emulsions continues to increase. The infant formula market in Australia alone (including export) grows at more than 45% per annum. Other rapidly emerging markets include specialized dairy ingredients for sports nutrition, an aging population and improving gut health. The production of any spray-dried powders that fail to meet the consumer’s specifications represents significant monetary and resource losses and increases environmental footprint. This is still a practical challenge faced by the dairy and food industry, as there are specific requirements to meet the demand of increasingly specialized dairy ingredients for application in a range of products including high-protein beverages, emulsion-based products, bars, and other such products.

The audience will have an opportunity to learn about the latest research and technology that can be applied to solve the challenges associated with functional, fortified dairy food and beverage products, including sports nutrition, medical nutrition and meal replacement products. Speakers include Dr. Patel, Dr. Cordelia Selomulya, an a biotechnology and food engineer research in Australia and Dr. Romain Jeantet, a food engineering professor in the joint research unit Agrocampus Ouest-INRA in Rennes, France.

Why is it so important to invest in dairy education and innovation? Because at the same these sessions are taking place, there are similar presentations being made on the growing opportunities with plant proteins.

I do believe the two can exist in harmony. But to do so, I will say it again, dairy must stay relevant to today’s consumers. We don’t want to have to say in a few years that we will be back. Let’s stay there!

Part of staying relevant is narrative. At its essence, narrative is about creating meaning. It’s the tool for making sense of the vastness of our world and the infinite data points, factoids and opinions. The dairy industry has one of the most amazing stories to tell. Share it. (Scroll down for a peak at my fun IDDBA story.)

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2 comments:

  1. Nice article. Fully agree, educating consumers is essential to stay up in the market. Keeping educating and innovating inside the Dairy sector is a must do to stay and grow. Milk and its derivative products are key nutritional foods and still is too much to explore.

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  2. I couldn't agree more with this, and I think it absolutely goes hand in hand with your earlier post about how yogurt is doing itself and the industry a disservice by devaluing the product through extreme discounting. A great discussion to continue!

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