Many of the more recent trends in milk products have been focused on flavors and single-serve sizes. But new trends are emerging which are all about functional ingredients and health benefits, like higher-protein and lactose-free.

TruMoo Protein MilkDallas-based Dean Foods Co., makers of TruMoo milk, launched TruMoo Protein milk on the West Coast. The company is offering its retail customers in California, Nevada and Hawaii new TruMoo milk that’s packed with 25 grams of protein. The extended shelf life product is available in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cookies n’ cream flavors. It’s sold in 14-ounce single-serve bottles for a suggested retail price of $1.99.

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPep), Washington D.C, is also focusing on the protein message. For its first-ever Super Bowl TV commercial the message was simple “Protein, that powerful way to start your day.” The company’s new protein message is being paired with other messages that consumers will respond to, like the muscle- and bone-building power of milk. Read more about MilkPep’s strategy here.

The Dairy Council of California, Sacramento, named protein as number one on its list of 10 trends affecting or influencing milk consumption in 2013. The Dairy Council of California works on behalf of California dairy farmers and milk processors to provide free nutrition lesson plans and programs to school children and their families. Read more about those trends here.

Prairie Farms Lactose Free Almond MilkAnother way processors are bringing people back to milk is through more functional offerings, like lactose-free. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Carlinville, Ill, created a new line of Lactose Free Milks in February, emphasizing the real milk aspect, but minus the lactose. The company recently added a new flavor — Lactose Free Vanilla Almond Milk — to that same line. The Vanilla Almond Milk joins the Fat-Free Milk with Calcium, Fat-Free Milk, 2% Reduced-Fat Milk and Vitamin D Whole Milk offerings.

The company said they recognize that many lactose intolerant consumers have stopped drinking real milk, and instead are consuming non-dairy alternative beverages – including almond and soy. The almond milk is its solution to bring those consumers back into the dairy category. To read more about this new line of milk, go here.

With the milk industry continuing to struggle, processors can take notes from Dean Foods and Prairie Farms on how to make relevant new products.