Friday, February 28, 2020

Added Sugars, Calories, CBD and COVID-19 Will Dominate Conversation at Expo West 2020

Photo source: Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

In just a few days many of us will be heading to Anaheim for Natural Products Expo West 2020, where an estimated 86,000 health and wellness industry professionals will gather to experience innovations from more than 3,600 exhibitors. While Coronavirus (COVID-19) was not on the agenda, it inevitably will be a topic of discussion and concern.

For those of you stressing out about what you hear in the news and in social media, here’s an excerpt of what the conference organizers posted on February 27.

“The majority of our Chinese exhibitors are unable to participate in this year’s event and a small number of companies are reducing their presence due to corporate travel policies.

You may have read about the local emergency declared by Orange County yesterday. This is in response to the federal government’s attempt to designate a center in Costa Mesa as a future Coronavirus medical support site and has no impact on the Natural Products Expo West event.

We are taking preliminary precautions by providing additional hand washing and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the event and increasing cleaning in high traffic areas.”

To read more, link HERE.

CBD, while still illegal in food and beverage according to FDA, will once again have a very strong presence at the expo. That’s because many manufacturers and marketers are choosing to ignore federal regulations and are opting to work at the state level.

And, of course, as one would expect, plant-based foods in every shape and size will dominate the show. This should not be a surprise as the convention was founded on a hippy lifestyle of alfalfa sprouts and granola. Yogurt was also part of that foundation, which is why dairy successfully manages to shine between plant-based vendor booths, even at plant-based vendor booths, as many dairy processors now offer an extensive range of plant-based products.

What will make dairy shine even more at expo are the efforts being made by processors to deliver on what is the number-one item today’s shoppers look for on product labels, and that is added sugar content. Reducing added sugars also usually decreases calorie content, which is the number-two item shoppers read.

Chicago-based The NPD Group reports that most (nearly 90%) of today’s consumers read labels, as it’s an important information source for them. The top-two items consumers look for are sugars and calories, both of which had an update with the new labeling rules that went into effect this year for companies with annual sales of at least $10 million. Smaller companies have an extra year to comply.

The new updated Nutrition Facts label includes a mandatory added sugars line as a subset of total sugars and calories are listed in a larger font. If the entire package of food can be consumed in one sitting, the label must have two Nutrition Facts columns, one for a single serving and the other for the entire package.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers who read Nutrition Facts labels look for sugars, and 45% of adults say they look at the label to find information on calories, according to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Services. Sodium (38%) and protein (33%) content follow. Interestingly, while total fat and trans fat are important to a fair amount of people, there is little interest in saturated fat. This is good news for dairy, as is the fact that potassium is now a mandatory callout on the Nutrition Facts label because of its importance in a healthy diet. Nine percent of consumers say they read the label for potassium content, reports NPD.

“Consumers are interested in the content of the foods they eat and the Nutrition Facts label is their best source for this information,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage analyst at NPD. “With most food companies working on the health profile of the foods they produce; the Nutrition Facts label provides them with the ability to showcase these improvements.”

Successfully lowering added sugars can be challenging, as the food must remain palatable, actually “yummy” is what most consumers want. It requires a toolbox of ingredients and technologies.

Photo source: Starbucks Corp.

For example, did you know that vanilla makes milk beverages seem sweeter? That’s right, adding vanilla to sweetened milk makes consumers think the beverage is sweeter, allowing the amount of added sugar to be reduced, according to researchers from Penn State. (ScienceDaily, June 20, 2019.)

“We are utilizing a learned association between an odor and a taste that will allow us to reduce the added sugar content,” according to Helene Hopfer, assistant professor of food science.

The idea that congruent or harmonious odors enhance certain tastes is not new, according to Hopfer, whose research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been experimenting with these “cross-modal interactions” in food since she came to Penn State three years ago. Her goal is to see them incorporated into foods.

Results from blind taste tests indicate that with the addition of vanilla, the added sugar content in flavored milk could potentially be reduced up to 50% without any impact on perceived sweetness.

“We maintain the sweetness perception by having this congruent odor--this learned, associated odor--basically trick the brain into thinking that there is still enough sweetness there,” said Hopfer. “Based on our results, taste-aroma interaction is a robust effect.”

Gloria Wang, who was the lead researcher on the project and now an associate scientist in product development with Leprino Foods in Colorado, conducted the research at Penn State as part of her master’s degree thesis in food science. She tested not only congruent taste-aroma combinations but incongruent combinations as well. It turned out that even a beef odor in milk slightly enhanced sweetness for study participants.

Given widespread concerns about sugar intake and health, manufacturers are reformulating their products to help address consumer demand, Wang noted. She believes the findings of the research, which were published in the October 2019 issue of Food Quality and Preference, offer them a workable option to reduce added sugar in their products and retain the sweetness consumers demand.

The Penn State study was novel because it did not ask participants to rate individual attributes of the milk such as sweetness, intensity of vanilla odor or milk taste. Instead, participants took a more holistic approach and simply selected the best match for the vanilla milk from four differently sweetened milk choices.

Hopfer’s lab in the Department of Food Science is working on a two-year project funded by the National Dairy Council to develop a reduced-sugar chocolate milk for the National School Lunch Program. The effort, based on the recent research using the synergistic actions between vanilla and sugar to reduce the added sugar content, will be a challenge because of the inherent bitterness of cocoa.

“The amount of sugar in chocolate milk is quite high because cocoa is very bitter, so you need some sugar to decrease the bitterness of the cocoa and then more to make it sweet,” Hopfer said. “We are hoping to utilize what we found with odors to reduce the added sugar content by experimenting to find the sweet spot between cocoa powder, sugar content and vanilla flavor. We know that if it isn’t sweet, children won’t drink it.”

Vanilla may be one part of that toolbox of sugar-reducing ingredients. Introducing umami into some formulations may help, too. A dash of mushroom extract, for example, contributes a savory deliciousness that may enhance sweetness.

The prebiotic fiber inulin also may assist.

“Inulin has become a success as a natural sugar replacer, used in an ever-growing number of products, and its presence means that companies can also flag up the enhanced fiber content on the label,” said food and beverage consultant Julian Mellentin.

Sugar reduction plus more protein is a big driver of innovation in all food categories. This is particularly true with dairy foods.

The new sweetener allulose is starting to show up in reduced-sugar and no-added-sugar dairy innovations. It is often used in combination with other sugar-reduction tools to achieve the best sweetness profile.

The new Cloud & Joy frozen dairy dessert line exemplifies this approach to sugar reduction. The line comes in four unique varieties, all of which emphasize the low sugar content, and with some varieties, no added sugars. None of them contain sugar alcohols.

The innovative base starts with organic non-fat milk that is combined with various gums and tapioca flour. Sweetness comes from a unique blend of allulose, organic agave inulin fiber, stevia leaf extract, monkfruit and mushroom extract.

Boozy Bee Vanilla is vanilla with bourbon and honey swirls. Cafecito Coffee & Cocoa Nibs is reminiscent of thick, sweet Cuban coffee with added cocoa flakes. Peppermint & Brownies is peppermint ice cream with hazelnut-infused dark chocolate brownies with hazelnut slices. This variety also contains spirulina superfruit for a health benefit. Sea & Smoke Chocolate is dark chocolate ice cream with cherrywood smoke flavor, sea salt and roasted, glazed, salted pecans.

The April 2019 announcement by FDA that allulose did not have to be included in total and added sugar counts in U.S. nutritional labeling has cleared the way for much higher levels of use and a move mainstream. Ingredion recognizes the opportunity of allulose in sugar reduction and now has a manufacturing facility dedicated to its production.

Allulose is a sweetener that tastes and functions like sucrose and is in the family of rare sugars. Allulose is absorbed by the body, but not metabolized, making it nearly calorie-free. Allulose is one of the many types of monosaccharides that exist in nature in small quantities and can be found in certain fruits, including figs, raisins and jackfruit. Allulose has a texture and performance behavior like sucrose providing comparable bulk, sweetness and functionality (e.g., browning, freeze point depression, etc.).

“We are advancing our specialties strategy with the unique value proposition offered by allulose for sugar reduction by aligning with one of the most important food and beverage trends shaping our industry and impacting our customers,” said Ingredion’s president and chief executive officer Jim Zallie.

Allulose, along with inulin, stevia and monkfruit, all of which are derived from nature, may assist with added sugar reduction or complete removal in dairy foods. Also part of that toolbox may be the lactase enzyme.

The sweetness of the inherent lactose in milk can be amplified through the addition of the enzyme lactase, as lactose is a relatively non-sweet disaccharide. Its sweetness index is 16, with sucrose being 100. When lactose is broken down by lactase enzyme into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose and galactose, its sweetness is increased approximately three-fold. By incorporating lactase into dairy foods, not only can sweetness be enhanced, but a lactose-free claim is possible.

Darigold is embracing the growth the cooperative has experienced with its Darigold FIT milk, which has 75% more protein and 40% less sugar compared to traditional milk. Launched in the Pacific Northwest market last year, FIT has doubled in sales and distribution over the past six months. To support this growth, the company is investing $67 million in its Boise, Idaho, milk processing facility this year. Value-added milk is alive and thriving for the company.

FIT was developed in response to consumer trends that demand “better for you” products, which are also delicious and convenient. Using ultrafiltration, FIT is designed to give consumers the taste they want while being lactose-free and high in protein without introducing anything artificial. Darigold recently broadened the FIT product line to include whole milk, as well as offering 2% white and 2% chocolate milk.

“FIT was inspired by our farmer owners’ desire to revitalize fluid milk,” said Duane Naluai, senior vice president. “They, more than anyone, know Darigold must provide consumers with new and relevant types of milk that preserve the wholesome and nutritious foundation that makes milk great in the first place. The positive consumer response we have received gives us confidence that FIT is bringing consumers back to fluid dairy.”

Photo source: Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

Now, back to CBD…but not cannabis. I had the opportunity to experience a dispensary popup in Venice, Calif., on Saturday, which was serving the original edibles: California Based Dairy (CBD). Produced by the innovative team at Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board, the California Dairy Dispensary highlighted the natural, mood-enhancing properties of dairy. It was everything expected from a traditional dispensary only in dairy form, which is natural and legal in all 50 states.

“California-based dairy foods, or CBD for short, not only taste delicious but are a natural way to enter a golden state of feeling everything from bliss to excitement,” said John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board. “A dispensary-inspired setting offers consumers an unexpected and unforgettable way to experience their favorite foods made with real milk produced on family dairy farms using the nation’s most sustainable farming practices.”

The menu included a variety of cheeses that were given whimsical names, such as “laid-back dry jack” and “easy breezy original blue.” Parfaits of botanical-infused yogurts were served in varieties such as Blissed Out Blueberry Cardamom, Habanero Mango Loco, Matcha Green Tea Time and Totally Tamarind Chili. Plain popcorn was served alongside micro-dosed-flavored butters that attendees dispensed onto the popcorn. Butter flavors were Best Coast Orange Lavender, Cozy Cinnamon Vanilla, Hell Yeah Harissa, Porcini Bliss and Sunshine (blood orange and wild honey) & Sea Salt.

Flavor-infused ice cream was rolled and served like spring rolls. Cheese & Wine Time was robust chocolate ice cream with blue cheese and sweet red wine. Spiced Orange Sunset combined the taste of California oranges with fresh ground black pepper, a juxtaposition of sweet and peppery spice to elevate one’s mood. Holy Jalapeno combined sweet, smoky roasted corn with the bright heat of jalapeno peppers. Salted Caramel Serendipity was just as the name suggests, salty with brown sweetness.

The popup included education as well. There was a focal wall showing the planet-friendly practices California dairy families use to ensure a cleaner, greener future for generations to come. It explained how the even the feed the cows enjoy helps to create a more sustainable industry, with more than 40% of the feed used to nourish California cows coming from byproducts of food and fiber production.

This is how dairy stays relevant at Natural Products Expo West. Hope to see you in Anaheim. Safe travels.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

For the Love of Dairy

Photo source: Baskin-Robbins 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love makes the world a better place. Collectively our love and passion for dairy is what keeps this nutritious and delicious food group relevant to today’s consumers.

Condolences go out to my friends at Pecan Deluxe Candy Company who lost their leader—Bennie Brigham—this week. It was not that long ago that I was dancing with Bennie and his wife Mary at an All Star Dairy convention. Bennie was a creative leader, inspiration and a fun dancer! He will be missed. He loved dairy. 

To read more about his legacy, link HERE.

It’s that love of dairy that is fueling growth. That’s right. The U.S. dairy industry is growing, not shrinking or declining as some mainstream media report. In fact, dairy in the U.S. is a $60 billion segment. There are 15 subsegments within dairy and most of these are growing. Since USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption in the 1970s, the trend has continued upward for five straight decades, increasing 22% since 1975. In the past decade: domestic cheese consumption increased by more than 25% in total tonnage, with per capita consumption up 16%; per capita yogurt consumption is up 14%; per capita butter consumption is up 16%; and IRI purchase data from 2019 shows increased sales for whole milk, lactose-free milk and other fluid products. The product mix in most demand by consumers is changing—we eat more dairy than we drink these days—but dairy overall continues to grow. People LOVE dairy. 

We are the ambassadors and influencers to get the message out to consumers.

Photo source: Bucca di Peppo

I was angry this week. For a lot of reasons, but only one I can share. That was Joaquin Phoenix’s speech at the Oscars. I took to Facebook and communicated to my “friends” some key facts for them to consider, and I was surprisingly thanked multiple times by people who are confused and just want to understand. I’ve posted these key talking points a few times on my blog. As lovers of dairy, I highly encourage you to copy and share in social media.
These are facts:

Two-thirds of global agriculture land is not suitable for growing crops that humans can digest for energy and nutrition. But these lands are suitable for growing grasses and similar plants that ruminant animals consume. 

These plants are basically sources of cellulose. In fact, half of all organic carbon on earth is tied up in cellulose. Humans are not able to use this carbon for energy. Ruminants can, and they do so very efficiently. 

Photo source: Buca di Peppo

Ruminants, namely cows, goats and sheep, digest cellulose and convert it into foods that humans can eat. They make all of that organic carbon that cannot be digested by humans available to humans in the form of high-quality protein, essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid, and an array of other nutrients. Milk, for example, provides calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, B2, B3 and B12. 

Think about a stalk of corn, which provides two to three cobs. Humans can only digest the kernels, and for that matter, not even all of the kernel. The fibrous outer shells of corn kernels pass through the gastrointestinal system undigested due to lack of the necessary digestive enzyme. The rest of that corn plant is useless to humans for energy; however, it’s a meal for ruminant animals such as cows. Cows effectively convert the nutrients in that stalk, husk and cob to meat and milk for human consumption. 

This is why we need ruminant animals to feed the projected 9.7 billion humans who will inhabit earth in 2050. 

Humans are omnivores. We are animals that have the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Animal nutrients are powerful. The bear, also an omnivore, gets it. When they are foraging the forest and dining on berries and leaves and see a salmon swimming nearby, they ditch the plants and go for the animal nutrition. Bears are smart. They understand the power of high-quality animal protein. 

Be a bear! This Berry is a bear! And gosh, that ice cream, lasagna and pizza look mighty delicious!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Dairy Drinks Bring High-Quality Protein to the Grab-and-Go Beverage Case. It’s about Time!

Have you visited a Fresh Thyme? The grab-and-go beverage case (at front of store) contains a plethora of drinks, everything from kombucha to coconut water to diet cola. While the store focuses on fresh, natural and better-for-you, it’s not Whole Foods. There’s no forbidden ingredient list. The store caters to its varied customers and tries to offer something for everyone. The consumer is the boss.

There’s room in that beverage case for dairy drinks, not to be confused with flavored milk. (There’s room for that, too.) The dairy drinks that make sense for Fresh Thyme and other smaller specialty food players are those that provide added value in terms of nutrition, energy and health benefits. Functionality is driving beverage growth and dairy can play in this space.

“Our industry is changing and indeed the world is changing,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association, at the Dairy Forum on Jan. 27, 2020.

WE must change with it.
“For businesses and people alike, just the word change can be scary. But call it by another name—innovation—and it becomes exciting and essential,” he said. “Regardless of what we call it, change is necessary. In fact, I’ll make a prediction about the dairy industry: We will see more change in the next five years than anything we’ve experienced over the last 15 years.

“We will continue to see consolidation across our industry and change in the products we make, the way our industry is organized to produce and deliver those products, and we will see more public scrutiny on our industry with changing consumer demands and preferences for our products.” he said.
Change is necessary because we can’t afford to stand still.

“It is time to take charge of our future together rather than allow others to determine it for us,” he said. “Don’t resist change. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen to you. Embrace it. Lead it. The future is in innovation. We must continue to innovate to stay ahead and remain on the consumer’s shopping list.”

He emphasized, as I do again and again: IT’S A GOOD TIME TO BE IN DAIRY!

“Here’s why now is the greatest time to be in dairy—and why everyone in this room deserves credit for our sustained growth,” Dykes said to the packed opening breakfast session at Dairy Forum 2020. “The dairy business in the United States at the consumer level has never been bigger, never been stronger and it continues to grow. Dairy is highly relevant in the marketplace. It is a flexible product able to maintain core attributes of quality, taste, affordability and nutrition—as it evolves with shifting consumer preferences. Dairy consumption is growing around the world, providing us with a significant long-term opportunity as emerging middle classes begin to demand more protein.”

Since the USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption in the 1970s, the trend has continued upward for five straight decades increasing 22% since 1975. He emphasized that there is a false narrative out there, perpetuated by uninformed media—not me, of course--that the past decade has been bad for dairy. In fact, just the opposite is true.

(Pictured: Michael Dykes, president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association)

“Overall, total per capita dairy consumption is up 6%. The product mix is, of course, changing,” he said. “Even as beverage milk sales have declined, we have found ways to adapt to evolving consumer preferences, demonstrating that we’re dynamic, innovative and committed to delivering dairy’s essential goodness and powerful nutrition to consumers in all sorts of products and offerings. We are eating more dairy and drinking less.”

Or, if we are drinking it, it’s in new formats with value-added ingredients. It’s not the white jug of the 1900s.

In the past few months, numerous dairy drinks have entered the marketplace. Shamrock Farms, for example, now offers Rockin’ Protein Plus, a ready-to-drink beverage that combines the dual benefits of protein and superfruits with pure, fresh Shamrock Farms milk.

It comes in two smooth flavors--Blueberry Pomegranate and Cherry Crème--each with unique, functional benefits, no added sugars and no lactose. The drinks start with a base of low-fat milk and get a protein boost from milk protein concentrate.

Blueberry Pomegranate is naturally packed with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and support a healthy immune system. It’s an excellent source of protein and vitamins A, C and E. One 12-ounce bottle contains 240 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein.

Cherry Crème is an excellent source of protein and calcium with the added benefit of tart cherries. One bottle contains 35 Montmorency Tart Cherries. Growing evidence supports the science and benefits of tart cherries, including anti-inflammation, exercise recovery and improved sleep. One 12-ounce bottle contains 200 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein.

“Health-conscious consumers are more proactive than ever when it comes to wellness, and that trend continues to drive the demand for functional beverages,” says Ann Ocaña, chief marketing officer for Shamrock Farms. “Rockin’ Protein Plus is an all-in-one option that brings superfruits together with milk, delivering the protein consumers need and flavor they love with the added health benefits they want.”

Coca-Cola is rolling out failife Nutrition Plan. These high-protein, low-sugar nutrition shakes come in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors in 11.5-ounce bottles. Labels emphasize the inclusion of high-quality protein. The drinks are made with ultra-filtered low-fat milk treated with lactase enzyme to ensure the beverage is lactose free. They are sweetened with acesulfame potassium, sucralose, monkfruit extract and stevia, delivering only 2 grams of sugar per serving. With 150 calories, 30 grams of high-quality protein and eight naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, the new shakes complement weight loss and weight management diets, and function as a convenient, on-the-go meal replacement.

SlimFast, the 40-plus years old weight loss brand, is adding 21 new products to its SlimFast Keto lineup, including dairy-based Meal Shakes To-Go. These shelf-stable drinks come in three flavors: Creamy Milk Chocolate, Creamy Mocha Latte and Vanilla Cream. All of the products are formulated on the principles of ketogenic nutrition: high fat, low carbohydrate and moderate protein. This shifts the body’s primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fat, assisting in weight loss.

Each 11-ounce bottle contains 180 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of total sugars, with no added sugars. The beverages are sweetened with sucralose and fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals, truly making them a meal replacement. The protein comes from milk protein concentrate while all of the fat comes from medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, which is recognized for assisting with burning body fat.

Keto is hot, which is why the creamer category is booming. To read more, link HERE to the Jan. 17, 2020, blog titled “Make Dairy Special with these Five Opportunities.”

Danone North America is embracing the keto trend with new STōK Cold Brew Fueled Creamers and Ready-to-Drink Coffee. Geared toward those who are looking to jump-start their day, the STōK Fueled line includes extra calories from protein, butter and MCT oil to help fuel up.

Functional coffee is booming. Dairy processors are smart to be in this space.

Offering a delicious, creamy taste, STōK Fueled Cold Brew Ready-to-Drink Unsweet Coffee is available in 48-ounce multi-serve bottles and provides caffeine for quick-start energy, along with energy from 10 grams of dairy protein, 5 grams of MCT oil  from coconut and palm, fat from butter and no added sugars.

STōK Fueled Creamers come in 16-ounce bottles in three flavors: Original, Vanilla and Unsweet. Keto dieters will likely consume the creamer as a beverage or maybe with a splash of coffee, as a 4-tablespoon serving (2 ounces/0.25 cup) contains 5 grams of dairy protein, 5 grams of MCT oil, and butter, for a total of 7 grams of fat.

“At STōK, we are always looking to keep up with the latest food trends and be at the forefront of innovation based on our consumers’ needs,” says Lindsey Morgan, director of marketing. “As functional coffee continues to make headlines, and with the lack of options that deliver on both great taste and convenience, we saw this as an opportunity to provide our coffee lovers with a viable solution that is sure to start their day on the right note.”

Late last year, Danone North America introduced Oikos Pro Fuel, a protein-packed caffeinated dairy beverage. This on-the-go nutrition dairy drink contains 25 grams of protein and 100 milligrams of caffeine per 10-ounce bottle.

Oikos Pro Fuel blurs the lines between a few growing categories, including ready-to-drink coffee beverages and energy drinks, and builds on Oikos Triple Zero’s response to many consumers’ desire for options that are high in protein. It is made with non-fat milk and is rich in nutrients like protein, potassium and calcium, which together help build strong bones and muscles. Each bottle contains caffeine from coffeeberry extract and is equivalent to approximately one cup of coffee. The caffeinated and cultured dairy drink is gluten-free and available in four flavors: Mixed Berry, Peach, Strawberry Banana and Vanilla.

“The energy drink market is a large and growing space with consumers looking for nutritious energy sources to help them focus on their goals,” says Ben Arbib, innovation brand manager for Oikos. “Oikos Pro Fuel delivers protein to help build muscle and caffeine to help you feel alert.”

Quest Nutrition entered the ready-to-drink dairy beverage space last year. Known for its dairy protein-enriched frozen pizzas, tortilla chips and snacks, Quest Nutrition now offers ready-to-drink protein shakes. Available in three flavors—Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Vanilla—the shakes are described as being simply made. They start with a base of water blended with milk protein concentrate. The shakes come in 11-ounce shelf-stable prisma cartons, four to a pack, with one shake containing 160 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of inherent sugar and 30 grams of high-quality dairy protein.

And, of course, kudos to the highly creative team at Live Real Farms, a new brand owned and managed by Dairy Farmers of America, for its Live Real Farms Dairy Plus Milk Blends that rolled out last fall. Using a unique blending process, Live Real Farms takes nature’s pure milk from 100% family-owned farms and blends it with either almonds or oats to create a new milk taste and texture with just the right amount of sweetness. The combination of the flavor of almonds or oats that consumers love with the protein power of dairy will satisfy the demands of families seeking the best of both worlds. The new beverage comes in five lactose-free varieties.

Change is happening. These companies are embracing it.

I second what Dykes said at Dairy Forum: The future will not look like the past, but it’s change we must embrace!

“Much of that change has been caused by shifting consumer preferences,” he said. “Today, it is most important for each of us to understand that we all work for the same boss—the consumer.”

He concluded with these five points:

  1. We must evolve. We all need to embrace an evolution in dairy.
  2. We must take bold risks. That means breaking the mold, embracing new ways of thinking, as well as new people who bring fresh ideas and perspectives.
  3. Look for ways to build coalitions and create new allies to get movement on specific issues, working with consumers, advocates, policymakers, producers and others.
  4. We need to diversify our product array. Let’s not get caught selling roll film 20 years after digital cameras were introduced.
  5. We must work to expand markets here and abroad, from new countries and regions of the world to new communities with specific values and preferences.
To read more about the changes that have taken place the past decade and why the dairy industry has to change to align itself with today’s consumers, link HERE to the Blimling Special Report: A Decade of Disruption.

Sponsor News: Idaho Milk Products has consistently received the highest Safe Quality Food (SQF) rating for dairy food processing for its cream, milk permeate powder and milk protein concentrate, and 2019 was no exception. Idaho Milk Products offers an unsurpassed level of production expertise, quality control and food safety to meet its customers’ most demanding requirements. The company recently received a Best of Class award for its milk protein isolate.