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The battle commences

In an era where liquid milk consumption is declining in most mature economies, the move is on to make liquid milk itself have added value. For example, Dean Foods in the US has introduced DairyPure, which it hopes will develop nationally into a trusted, go-to brand for American consumers. Others, like Coca-Cola, have gone down the ultrafiltration route and expect the US public to pay over the odds for longer life and a premium process, for what is still liquid milk. Who will win out is anyone’s guess. Let the marketing battle begin.

It is a problem that vexes the industry. We have a great product, but since homogenisation and pasteurisation, the liquid side of it hasn’t moved on that much. You can find innovations in some of the yogurt products, and some interesting flavours in ice cream, but for the drinking stuff, people are conservative. Or, they want benefits. And, they want it all to taste good. Nowadays, don’t bother to develop something that delivers a protein benefit, but perhaps tastes a little… chalky. I have watched people throw products like that straight into the bin.

When I went to Dublin for the Canadean Dairy Innovation Summit recently, there was some debate about how much innovation there is to be seen in Ireland, but you can’t help but credit the amount of energy they are expending to try and unlock more of dairy’s potential in research. I think if anyone can do it, they are certainly giving it a good go. I think the approach is preferable to just sitting there, heads in hands, and complaining about the current status. You can’t win if you don’t try in the first place.

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