Friday, January 15, 2021

Dairies are a Bright Spot in 2021


Personal note: I attribute my (thus far) very mild, almost asymptomatic case of COVID-19 on a healthful diet and exercise. That diet is dairy-centric, loaded with probiotics, vitamin D and essential fats, along with plenty of vitamin C and a few antioxidant supplements. Thanks for your well wishes and care packages. I am in the clear on Saturday. I also want to emphasize the importance of wearing a mask. My eldest son and I tested positive after he learned he was exposed to a positive carrier on New Year’s Eve. Had we not known, and if we were reckless with protection and sanitizing, we could have infected many. Just saying…

The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network (CFBN) hosted its first event of the 2021 season this week. The virtual event provided an in-depth look at the State of the Industry. Dairies are a bright spot!

“With all of the challenges that 2020 brought to our industry and all of the optimism that 2021 promises--from the COVID vaccine rollout to projected city re-openings, and from interesting mergers and acquisitions activity on the horizon to consumer’s next moves and changing commerce models--there is a lot to discuss,” said Alan Reed, executive director of CFBN.

He emphasized that there are two things that will continue this year. Consumers want to eat healthier products and there will be more eating at home. Even though tourism and hospitality will likely explode in the second half of the year, consumers will remain cautious with what they fuel their body with and where they do it. 

My friend Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, shared insights on the best eating plans, which, of course, include dairy, and why they may be beneficial, especially for athletes and active people. Read her comprehensive article she wrote for the Northeast American Dairy Association HERE.

Industry authorities participating in the CFBN State of the Industry event emphasized that when the world starts opening up, there will be lots of pent up demand to explore new products. That’s why innovation must not stop.  

Need innovation ideas? Listen to the season two premiere of “The Dairy Download” featuring interviews with BerryOnDairy and Dairy Carrie, addressing efforts to connect American consumers with the stories behind their favorite dairy products…brands that also thrive outside of cows’ milk products.
Consumers today want to know “Where did that gallon of milk come from?” “Why is my local dairy making juice?” “Why are there so many ice cream flavors and cheese styles?” Link HERE to the 30-minute podcast. 

One of the biggest opportunities for dairy processors is the beverage section of the refrigerated dairy case, as well as the produce department. This has become a destination for beverage seekers who want premium, quality product that is minimally processed and free of artificial ingredients. Dairy processors are well poised to be making these juices, teas and coffee beverages.

This week Chobani expanded its refrigerated beverage business with new Chobani Coffee. (More on this rollout next week as a Daily Dose of Dairy.) Throughout 2020, Chobani successfully introduced a range of refrigerated fluid products, including plant-based beverages, creamers and functional wellness drinks. While the Chobani brand is best associated with Greek yogurt, the dairy recognizes the value in its brand and the appreciation and trust consumers have in it. That’s what dairies bring to the beverage category. 

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