A few weeks ago Americans learned that yes, we are in a recession, and in fact, it began at the end of 2007.  Little surprise there for the business community and consumers alike.

A few weeks ago Americans learned that yes, we are in a recession, and in fact, it began at the end of 2007.  Little surprise there for the business community and consumers alike.

This might not be the best news to kick off the new year with, but this is certainly what we are faced with, and we will probably have to deal with it for some time. No matter how you view the current economic mess, it will have an impact on your business decisions. The nature of the decisions you make, however, will also depend greatly on whether you typically see the glass as half full, or half empty.

There will be opportunities accompanying the challenges in the year ahead.

For the dairy industry, many of those opportunities have to do with the expected shifts in consumer behavior from out-of-home consumption, and indulgence, toward at-home consumption and value.

As Americans become more careful with their money, they will likely dine out less frequently. Your foodservice customers may be negatively impacted. On the other hand, take-out pizza still provides a reasonable treat for the whole family, particularly when specials and coupons are involved. While consumers might be less impulsive toward indulgent products during an economic downturn, super premium ice cream isn’t going away. 

Sales of gallon jugs of milk are the backbone of the dairy industry, and eating breakfast at home with the kids-say milk and cereal-is a money-saver. Across the spectrum of dairy food products, private label and other value-proposition product lines are likely to do well in the coming months.

Undoubtedly there is plenty of room for the optimist who sees the milk glass as more than half full. 

The major theme of the recent presidential campaign was change. Dairy Foods underwent a good deal of change in the last year, and both the results and the response have been beyond our expectations. We promised the industry that the combination of Dairy Foods and Dairy Field Reports would be the most complete media package serving the dairy processing industry, and we delivered. 

We now offer more articles about sales and product trends, more information about product development and processing technologies, and more behind-the-scenes stories about dairy foods companies and their people. The new features have included Q & As with equipment manufacturers, monthly company profiles and plant features, and more news than ever about emerging arenas like organic dairy and artisan and farmstead cheese. And we’re not done yet. Beginning this month we’re adding Wellness Watch, and Plant Talk to the lineup. 

In the last year we have overhauled Dairyfoods.com to bring you special features including behind-the-scenes slideshows from plant visits, videos from supplier partners, news feeds and more.  We continue to produce Dairy Product Innovations, a monthly e-newsletter focused on new dairy products and supplier products and news.

More than ever, we provide you with information that helps you do well in your business.

Each January, we present our Supplier Capabilities Spotlights, giving our advertisers a chance to tell you more about their company, and the products and services they provide. These companies are also working to partner with you and help you succeed.   

In a few days a new U.S. president will be sworn in, and the Obama administration will have its hands full with the economy. From what we heard during the campaign, this new Democratic administration will also endeavor to make fundamental changes to our governmental systems and even the fabric of American politics. As a result, there will likely be some changes in how your business is regulated.

At Dairy Foods, we feel a bit fortunate and encouraged that we have just undergone a year of change, and might therefore be in a better position to help you understand the changes ahead. We know for certain, that one thing that won’t change is our commitment to you.  

Tom Imbordino, Publisher of Dairy Foods, can be reached at 773/755-8990 or imbordinot@dairyfoods.com.