Lori Dahm,
technical editor
You know, I think dairy is at the brink of huge growth opportunities. Soda has been named the evil obesity-causing drink for children. Milk stands a good chance of being ushered in as its replacement especially if the dairy industry can work with innovative beverage companies (yes, they may be the soda companies themselves) to develop dairy-based beverages that would register on the hip scale and thereby be touted as the next “must-have” drink by our nation’s youth.
But I think there is an attitude obstacle to overcome if dairy is really going to allow itself to tap into this potential.
I was recently at a dairy event where a repeated question was, what are the “threats” to the dairy industry if another industry segment created non-dairy products that included the nutritional components we were discussing? I couldn’t understand why this was perceived as a “threat.” After all, don’t we want consumers to get as much nutrition and health from foods as possible — some of those foods dairy, and some not?
I believe that viewing other food industry segments as a threat has negative consequences for the dairy industry. Why not work together with other industry segments to create products that are dairy-based and also span segments? Wouldn’t parlaying strength across various categories result in stronger positioning for a product?
In my view, dairy-based products could be the next big thing, but only if dairy can resist isolation.