It was not long ago that domestic demand afforded dairy producers a premium for their milk compared to their international counterparts. Similarly, domestic end users of dairy products such as cheese and butter can no longer look to the likes of Europe and New Zealand for cheap fat and protein alternatives.
If you were hoping that this clean label thing would have blown over by now, you can keep hoping. Or just throw in the towel and accept it. Market researchers Innova found that in the dairy sector, items with one or more clean-label claims accounted for 49% of 2016’s launches to date, up from 41% in 2015. Innova counted claims related to natural, organic, non-GMO or no-preservatives/additives.
Coffee and milk, tea and milk and fruit juice with vegetables are current trends in the coffee, milk and juice segments.
November 18, 2016
Many fluid milk processors manufacture juices, iced tea and coffee beverages. They have the necessary processing equipment and they have relationships with retailers who often want a second brand or control brand to put in their nondairy refrigerated cases. These nondairy beverages represent additional sales opportunities for a dairy.
Retail sales of branded butter showed gains on private label butter in the last year. Though dollar sales of private label butter increased 3.4%, unit sales decreased 1.3%, suggesting that retailers raised prices.
Consumers love their cheese and are clear about what they want. It has to be easy to eat, portable, available in a variety of flavors and all-natural. These are the dominant themes from almost every cheese processor we spoke with. Convenience, flavor innovation, authenticity and freshness are key factors that will drive consumer cheese purchases, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison.
While yogurt is certainly still having its day, other cultured dairy products are seeing renewed interest. Consumers’ desires for variety in flavor and texture, clean ingredients and nutrient-dense snacks (like more protein or probiotics) are shining a spotlight on yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese and sour cream-based dips.
In searching for signs of life in the fluid milk category, one can find a pulse. Sales of whole milk rose 4.1% from 2014 to 2015. Sales also increased for 1% milk (4.6%), whole flavored milk (6.4%), other flavored milk (1.3%) and buttermilk (5.2%). These segments represent opportunities for fluid milk processors.