Topping Trends
James Dudlicek
(847) 205-5660 ext. 4009
The Institute of Food Technologists has released its study of the top 10 global food trends. Some are new, others are growing.
A glance down the list reveals that the dairy industry is on the right track in keeping up with these consumer trends:
1. Quick Fix. For simplifying home food preparation, the cheese segment has excelled, especially with shreds. Sargento recently kicked things up a notch by adding a variety of herbs and spices to some of its shred blends.
2. Drive and Go. Single-serve milk is growing with new flavors, sweeteners and fat contents, while drinkable yogurts, some with nutritional enhancements, remain popular.
3. Inherently Healthy. Science continues to point toward milk as a nearly perfect food. Dairy’s weight-management potential is getting more exposure, and it’s got stronger backing on the new food pyramid.
4. Fancy. One of the strongest growth areas is specialty cheeses, as consumers seek sophistication in snacking and dining. And while health awareness is reaching new highs, the indulgence of full-fat ice cream remains in strong demand.
5. Farm-Friendly. We reported last month the huge growth of the organic market. With companies like Dean in the game, it’s sure to be around a while.
6. Layered Flavors. Flavored cheeses and more complex ice cream varieties deliver on this trend. Growing demand for ethnic products has brought more authentic exotic cheeses and the first commercial horchata, the milk-rice beverage.
7. Grazing. Cubes and cracker slices have added value to cheese, while single-serve milks, drinkable yogurts and pudding tubes have opened up greater opportunities in snacking and vending.
8. Low-, No- and Reduced. The frozen segment has excelled here, with companies like Wells’ Dairy and Dreyer’s taking it to new heights. Yogurt is up there, too, and can you think of a food that has had as many fat categories for as long as milk?
9. Do-It-Yourself Doctoring. Added fiber and plant sterols are boosting yogurt, already teeming with beneficial bacteria. Probiotics and whey protein potential continue to expand.
10. Global Gangbusters. This is perhaps the greatest area of untapped potential. Tip Tipton eloquently takes on the issue in his column this month.
So in the realm of food trends, the dairy industry is in good shape, but there’s still work to be done.  
The outcry was deafening over technical editor Lori Dahm’s March column regarding rGBH, prompting reaction from Monsanto, IDFA and the National Dairy Council. Some alleged biased coverage, failing to recognize that Dairylogue is a column of opinion.
Of course, we are well aware and have reported often the main point made by the letter-writers: the FDA has determined there is no difference in milk from cows treated or untreated with rGBH.
But there are many who, despite the science, believe the contrary. We do not intend to muzzle columnists who may hold that view. See page 53.