Dairylogue: Opportunity Knocks
These days, it’s nearly impossible to escape the low-carb buzz.
We read and hear, on a daily basis, about the food industry’s mad dash to rid
products of those sinister siblings: sugar and starch. Meanwhile, a potentially
larger movement is taking shape as savvy food manufacturers work to infuse health-enhancing
ingredients into familiar favorites.
With awareness of — and concern over —
health issues at an all-time high, the demand for these functional foods
soon could be very large indeed. Moreover, dairy products, if formulated
and marketed correctly, could play a major role in this market.
Most dairy products qualify as functional foods
without further enhancement, serving up calcium and numerous other
constituents important to human health. I, for one, feel more comfortable
getting the supplemental “good stuff” from products deemed
healthful in the first place. I wouldn’t rely on fortified candy bars
to protect my family’s health, for example, although I’d
probably choose a calcium-fortified chocolate syrup over a non-fortified
version if milkshakes were on the family dessert menu.
As a functional ingredient base, however, dairy faces
competition from food and beverage categories ranging from margarine to
pasta — not to mention the supplement folks. Dairy processors such as
yourselves, therefore, would be wise to act quickly and aggressively.
Take a cue from the orange juice folks. What started
with a little added calcium since has morphed into a virtual
citrus-flavored pharmacy. Orange juice and juice blends now boast
functional ingredients ranging from heart-health promoters to immune-system
And don’t discount a functional ingredient just
because it falls
outside the dairy tried and true. Aging consumers are
looking for a non-prescription means to control cholesterol and lower risks
for heart disease and cancer. Many adolescents are searching for ways to
control their weight.
A touch of fiber or a sprinkling of phytosterols could make
milk even more healthful, for example, while a bit of whey might add more muscle
to the dairy weight loss story.
Finally, promote the functional ingredients your products might already contain.
Opportunity is knocking— will you open the door?
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