Julia Kadison MilkPEPMilkPEP CEO Julia Kadison (pictured) told Dairy Foods that she is “very optimistic about the future of milk sales and we really think we are going to start seeing some turn-around in the industry as we head into 2015.”

The reasons, she said, include “innovation across the marketplace both in terms of brand innovation, in terms of packaging and messaging. MilkPEP has introduced a few new consumer-related programs into the marketplace, and what we've done is take a look at what consumers care about and how that relates to milk. The work that we're doing is really related to protein.”

Kadison spoke with Dairy Foods editor Jim Carper in December about the challenge from nondairy beverages and her group’s efforts to make milk relevant in U.S. households. The Milk Process Education Program, Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors.

An edited transcript will be published in the February issue of Dairy Foods. Listen to the entire interview here.

In the interview, Kadison acknowledged that milk “has been out-innovated by impostors” but in response MilkPEP has “done a lot to start to alter our consumers’ opinions and help them to understand why milk is the better choice.”

She said another reason for optimism is “I believe that more than ever before, the dairy industry is working in concert. We have a new energy between the farmers, the processors, the retailers. We've really united to understand and tackle that reverse in the sales trends.”

Kadison said MilkPEP plans to counter “some of the negative attitudes about milk. We're going to be working hard and even more aggressively to come out against the milk naysayers. We need to get more aggressive against those negative headlines and against the anti-dairy sentiment that seems to be increasing in the marketplace. Just because one study comes out that gets sensational headlines, we need to remind everyone that there is this history of the nutrition science that goes behind milk. You are going to be seeing a lot more of that, too.”

Kadison will be speaking at the Dairy Forum, an annual event hosted by the International Dairy Foods Association. On Tuesday, Jan. 27, Dairy Foods will stream her talk, titled “Telling the Milk Story: Safeguarding Consumer Confidence in Milk’s Goodness.” To listen, register for free at Dairy Forum Broadcasting Live.

For dates and times of other presentations, including IDFA President Connie Tipton’s keynote address, see “IDFA will broadcast 4 sessions from its Dairy Forum.”

To register for the Dairy Forum, Jan. 25 to 28, visit www.idfa.org.