What’s for breakfast? Increasingly, it’s not a traditional meal of cereal and milk or bacon and eggs served at home. Instead, grab-and-go nutritional and performance drinks are a popular meal option. That’s a threat to dairy companies, especially those that make milk, cheese and yogurt.
In head-to-head comparisons, nutrient-dense dairy foods beat their analog counterparts. Perhaps the new FDA labeling requirements will help the dairy industry to push back against claims by plant-based products.
Rob Graves is a dairy farmer and dairy processor who owns Morning Fresh Dairy in Bellvue, Colo. He sells his white and flavored milks up and down the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Business was good for the fourth-generation farmer. Demand was growing from home delivery customers, restaurants and Whole Foods. Graves had plans to expand the milk processing plant. That is, until yogurt got in the way.
Based in Colorado but with roots in Australia, noosa yoghurt has disrupted dairy aisles throughout the United States. Innovative flavors and see-through packaging help the product stand out on grocers’ shelves.
When Whole Foods said it wanted to carry pints of The Comfy Cow’s super-premium ice cream, the founders invested in a bigger plant and additional equipment. A growing franchise operation also is creating demand.
In 2015, The Comfy Cow invested a reported $2 million in the building it’s leasing in the Regency Pointe Business Center in Louisville’s Jeffersontown neighborhood. Over the next 10 years, the project is expected to create 40 to 50 new jobs. Currently there are 14 employees. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved tax incentives up to $350,000.
At issue is a World Health Organization proposal written in January that seeks to prohibit the promotion of milk and milk products to children under the age of three. In April, The National Milk Producers Federation (representing dairy farmers) and the International Dairy Foods Association (representing dairy processors) urged members of Congress to insist upon a more thorough analysis of the proposal.
Seven years ago Tim and Roy Koons-McGee opened up one ice cream parlor in Louisville, Ky. This year they are on pace to have 11 scoop shops and 300 grocery stores carrying pints of their super-premium ice cream.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Big Business in the United States is against regulation. Except when a law protects its own interests. Case in point: food processors and ingredient labeling.