Thursday, May 5, 2022

Dairy is Better Than Ever


Photo source: Tate & Lyle

The past two weeks have been packed with positive dairy information that we can all use to stay motivated. Let’s continue to innovate and keep dairy relevant to consumers during these turbulent times. 

For starters, have you heard that a third (34%) of younger Europeans (18-35-year-olds) are consuming more dairy than they were three years ago? This is according to an online survey of 1,554 consumers (18-65-year-olds) conducted in August 2021 by Tate & Lyle PLC. The survey found that the frequency of young consumers (in the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden) eating dairy products is high, with 71% eating cheese, 81% drinking milk and 69% eating yogurt at least once a week. Furthermore, 77% of 18 to 35-year-olds said they are happy to consider eating more dairy products if they could try products with less fat, sugar and allergens. 

I am going to take an educated guess that these same preferences hold true in the US and other developed countries. 

“Our research has uncovered some interesting emerging trends when it comes to how and why consumers are purchasing dairy,” says Beth Nieman Hacker, market research director at Tate & Lyle. “It is so important to understand how behaviors, values and appetites are changing and the drivers behind these shifts, so food and drink brands can launch products that meet the needs of consumers today.”

The research uncovered opportunities for food and drink manufacturers to do more to encourage young people to eat dairy products. Health is a key priority for the younger generation, with one in four (39%) 18 to 35-year-olds stating they felt dairy products contained too much fat and 34% claiming that dairy products contain too much sugar. With that said, younger consumers are much more likely to eat dairy alternatives, with 35% eating non-dairy cheese, 33% eating non-dairy ice cream and 46% non-dairy milk at least once a week.

A flexitarian diet seems to be on the rise amongst consumers of all ages. This demographic switches between dairy and dairy alternatives, depending on the meal type. Thirty-nine percent said they eat dairy cheese at dinner, compared to 26% who chose a dairy alternative; 32% preferred dairy yogurt at breakfast, while 26% liked a dairy alternative yogurt as a mid-morning snack.

Consumers are also looking to make more sustainable choices with almost a fifth (18%) of older consumers saying products with environmental certifications would be a big factor in them increasing their dairy intake, while younger consumers were looking for more environmentally friendly packaging (19%) and a longer shelf life (20%).

Speaking of sustainability, the dairy industry aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. HERE is a four-minute interview to learn what this means for farms.

And here’s an excellent read about “What Happens to Your Body If You Drink Milk Every Day.” Written and reviewed by two registered dietitians, this article appeared last week in Eating Well, a premier consumer publication designed to educate about nutrition using scientific facts. You can read the article HERE.

The author concluded that “if you aren’t lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy, it’s totally OK to enjoy a regular glass of milk each day. From improving bone health to helping mitigate cognitive decline, drinking milk and incorporating other dairy items into your diet can come with some health benefits. Since there are dairy farmers all across the U.S., try choosing milk that is produced locally. Making a connection with a local farmer can help you get a better-quality product that takes less of a toll on the environment, too.”

“While dairy products have long been associated with goodness, in today’s world, the dairy industry must adapt to modern consumer tastes, convenience and healthier lifestyles,” said Delphine Forejt, dairy category development manager at Tate & Lyle.

And processors are doing just that! Congratulations and thank you. 

Wells’ Enterprises is listening. The company’s Halo Top brand has been reformulated. The new recipe features a creamier texture—thanks to the use of ultrafiltered milk--while still staying significantly lower in calories and sugar than regular ice cream. It’s also a good source of protein, enabling ice cream lovers to feel good about every bite. 

Halo Top is debuting its new recipe with a brand new flavor: Chocolate Cake Batter. This chocolaty cake batter light ice cream contains colored sprinkles to transport you back to your childhood kitchen, sneaking batter straight from the bowl. 

Now let’s talk plant-based milks. Rosemary Trout, program director and assistant clinical professor of culinary arts and food science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, analyzes the burgeoning plant-based milk category. I highly recommend watching this 12-minute VIDEO to hear her provide an unbiased description of the various options in the marketplace. She does a fabulous job of breaking down the products, including their nutrition and functional profiles. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

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