It's Not Pretty

July 14, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
dbv

Jerry Dryer


You know me, the eternal optimist. Well, I'm having a bad day.

I've been looking at dairy sales data and it is not a very pretty picture. Fortunately, there are a few bright spots.

Most of our milk supply ends up in one of two products: Beverages or cheeses. Bottled water has just knocked milk out of second place in the beverage consumption derby. Increases in per capita consumption of cheese have slowed to a snail's pace.

Milk has surrendered more than a gallon of consumption per capita during the past five years. Bottled water has been adding a gallon of consumption a year for about 10 years. In fact, bottled water consumption has more than doubled in the past 10 years; growing to 22.6 gallons during 2003.

A few years ago, we took comfort in the fact that lower fat milk sales were growing, albeit not enough, to help offset declines in whole milk sales. Unfortunately, during the past couple of years, lowfat and fat free milk sales have also slipped below year-earlier levels.

Flavored milk is the only bright spot now. But selling it a pint at a time hasn't been able to offset the erosion of sales of plain milk being sold a gallon at a time. The optimist in me still thinks milk can stage a recovery, but it will take some hard work. Milk producer and dairy processor promotion groups have laid the groundwork. Now, milk marketers must do the hard work and capitalize on the opportunities in vending and in school feeding programs.

Milk's market strategy has to be aimed at getting kids to drink more milk because it is more readily available and because it tastes better. Then, hopefully, we make can them lifelong milk drinkers.

It has worked for yogurt—the only truly pretty picture in the dairy sales product portfolio. "Yogurt is for women" was the conventional wisdom ten years ago. Then, along came yogurt for kids. Moms knew how good it was for them and it didn't take them long to figure out it was good for kids.

Over two-thirds of all Americans now eat yogurt; 57% of all men. After slipping in the mid-90s, per capita yogurt sales have ticked steadily higher for the past five years. It took the yogurt strategy awhile to get traction, but it was clearly worth the effort. The current low-carb craze is complicating the yogurt business and won't make the job any easier. But the longer term trend toward better overall nutrition will prevail. Milk and yogurt belong in the picture of healthful foods. We can't turn milk sales around quickly, but a lot of hard work can get the job done.

Meanwhile, cheese sales are reportedly being supported by the purveyors of the 'low-carb' mantra. So, why have gains in per capita sales slowed to a snail's pace? Because per capita sales of the "Big Two", American and mozzarella, have actually declined each of the past two years. They are falling out of favor in the foodservice business.

Cheeseburgers are being replaced by chicken and salads on menu boards in fast food restaurants. Pizza makers have tried to rely on low prices instead of creating exciting new products. American and mozzarella are the 'whole milk' of the cheese business. Consumers are opting for more full-flavored products and specialty cheese sales are doing very well. Cheeses with high flavor profiles are showing up on top of more and more pizzas. "Would you like a slice of provolone on that chicken sandwich, madam?" "Yes," she replies.

As noted earlier, I'm having a bad day. But tomorrow, everything will look better.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Dairy Foods Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Jerry Dryer

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Agropur, Natrel Division USA, St. Paul, Minn.

 At its Natrel Division plant in St. Paul, Minn, Agropur makes rBST-free white and flavored milk, heavy whipping cream, half n half, buttermilk, organic milk, nutritional drinks and shakes and sport drinks. Nondairy beverages (soy, rice, coconut, and almond) coffee creamers, broth and sauces. 

BehindtheScenes

This photo gallery contains additional, unpublished photos of dairy processing facilities featured in Dairy Foods magazine. To view more Behind the Scenes galleries go to our archives page!

11/18/14 2:00 pm EST

Harness Your Product Inspection Program to Save Money, Ensure Quality and Drive Efficiencies

Consolidation in the dairy industry is raising the bar on innovation and driving efficiencies to ensure competitiveness. One area often overlooked is the role that the right product inspection program can play in supporting the organization’s overall business goals and protecting brand reputation. Drawing on best practices in metal detection, X-ray inspection and checkweighing, this session will cover criteria to help determine the right technologies to employ for a given product and packaging type for high-value, perishable dairy products.

Cheese Flavors

What’s your favorite flavor to eat in cheese?
View Results Poll Archive

Dairy Foods Magazine

september cover

2014 September

Joseph Gallo Farms wins honors for its cheeses, sustainability practices; plus we look at what's happening with frozen desserts.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE DAIRY FOODS STORE

tharp-and-young-on-icecream.gif
Tharp & Young on Ice Cream: An Encyclopedic Guide to Ice Cream Science and Technology

An at once an all-inclusive guide to the meaning of hundreds of technical terms and ideas needed for ice cream manufacturing, as well as a practical introduction to the ingredients, freezing methods, flavoring, and packaging of ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurts, novelties and many other kinds of frozen desserts.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Dairy Foods Buyers Guide

cover df july 2013Resource for buyers in the dairy processing industry to find information on the leading suppliers and manufacturers.

Find Ingredients, Equipment, Distribution, R&D and More.

Start Your Search Today.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube logo 40px 2-12-13  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13google plus