Friday, September 22, 2023

Five Questions Every Dairy Processor Should Ponder


It’s been a busy week with Groceryshop in Vegas and Natural Products Expo East in Philly. In between, I’ve discovered a few fun facts to share and turn into questions for dairy marketers to ponder. Here you go.   

1. Barbie drinks cow’s milk. That’s right. In the blockbuster movie now available on Amazon Prime Video, Barbie opens the fridge, which is stocked with all types of “milks,” and chooses cow’s milk. The carton does not just state “milk.” Very boldly, it reads cow’s milk. Her choice has gone viral on social media. Is there a way milk marketers can carefully build on this without upsetting Mattel? 

2. Horchata can be made with cow’s milk or not. It seems to me this Hispanic beverage would be a great way for dairy processors to play in the plant-based space. How’s this for a spin? Offer traditional plant-based horchata and then an option for those who want dairy nutrition. So the lineup is “Traditional Horchata” and “Protein Horchata with cow’s milk.” I bet Barbie would choose the latter. 

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and The Dairy Alliance, a nonprofit funded by dairy farm families of the Southeast, partnered to launch Horchata Ice Cream. Starting on September 24, 2023, (National Horchata Day), this new flavor will be available at all Handel’s locations to commemorate the vibrant Hispanic culture. The limited-edition flavor is made with sweet cream, cinnamon and milk. How about doing more with horchata?

3. Pistachios are a complete protein. According to the American Pistachio Growers, a 2019 analysis (conducted at my alma mater, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) of the protein content in pistachios showed that not only are the nuts a good source of protein at 6 grams per serving, but that roasted American pistachios are a complete protein. A complete protein contains all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own and humans need to get from food. Most complete proteins are animal based. Very few come from plants. The Illini researchers found that pistachios scored higher on complete protein content than other plant-based options, such as quinoa and soybeans. To read more, link HERE. Pistachio products were abundant at Expo East. The nut is being featured in snack items, beverages and even as a spread. Is there an opportunity to use pistachios as inclusions in dairy foods to further boost protein content? 

4. Dairy foods assist with dental health. I remember some buzz on this topic probably about 30 years ago. It was specific to cheese and a recurring conversation when I worked at Kraft. I was reminded of it this week in a press release from a Canadian dentist. Here’s the scoop: Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium and phosphates, which are essential for strengthening tooth enamel. They also help balance the pH level in the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay. How can dairy processors leverage when reducing or eliminating added sugars in these products? 

5. Store-owned brands are getting more creative and innovative. The Good & Gather brand generated more than $3 billion in sales in 2022. It’s Target’s flagship brand with more than 2,500 products across the food department. They are made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors or high-fructose corn syrup. Good & Gather has a presence in all refrigerated dairy and it’s branded dairy’s biggest competition at Target. 

“It’s a brand that our guests can trust,” said Erica Thein, vice president, food and beverage owned brands at Target during a session on budget-conscious consumers at Groceryshop. “They taste great and have an accessible price point.” 

Does your brand offer these benefits? 

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