Of late, several issues have been bugging me. So, I'm going to bug you; hopefully, enough to prompt a thoughtful email (jdryer@jdgconsulting.com) or phone call 800/243-7037.

  • Is it still true? Several years ago, I saw some research indicating that the average consumer thought whole milk contained somewhere between 15 and 30% fat. If that's the case, we had better get off the stick and do a major overhaul of our labels and ingredient listings.

    Many years ago, some folks tried to label lowfat milk (1%) as "99% Fat Free." Somewhere back in the cobwebs of my mind, I recall a Federal Trade Commission ruling that dairy couldn't use this terminology. FTC's rationale (if a government agency is capable of reason), escapes me at the moment. I think it is about time we tried again.

    Meanwhile, is there anything wrong with labeling whole milk with the fat content as part of the descriptor? You know, say something like "Contains only 3.5% fat." If some regulator has a problem with the word 'only', I still think telling people milk has 3.5% fat is a major step in the right direction.

  • I've changed my mind. Soft drink companies getting into the "dairy beverage" business is actually a very bad idea. Originally, I thought that when soft drink companies, with all of their marketing muscle, joined the fray, we would sell more milk. You know, rising waters lift all ships.

    It won't work out that way. Soft drink companies have hung on to their long-term interests of selling sugar, water and miscellaneous other goober. Given the escapades of the Kings of Cola, milk's pure and wholesome image will likely sink.

  • Speaking of sugar, I think we can and should find more and better alternatives to the sweeteners being used today. In fact, I've always wondered why dairies didn't use lactose as a sweetener. Split that molecule and release a dairy-natural sweetness. Put yourself in a position to tell Moms, "there's no sugar added."

  • Why aren't we more aggressively talking about the naturalness of dairy? Don't get me wrong, I've long been a proponent of fortification. Make milk even better, add some fiber to yogurt, etc. But stick with natural ingredients as much as possible.

    Fortification for the sake of fortification (calcium fortified o.j., for example) is going to run out of steam in the marketplace. Turning sea shells into powder to get a calcium supplement is no match for the good stuff we squeeze out of Elsie and her colleagues two or three times a day.

    More consumers are already more sophisticated. They understand bioavailability and having the right blend/ratio of various nutrients naturally to assure better absorption.

    What's bugging you? What are the untapped opportunities you see in the marketplace? Let's talk.