The evolving dynamics

At first glance, the recent travails of Dean Foods and Borden Dairy in the US appear to be a grim toll for dairy. Two large processors filing for bankruptcy is a sign of things going wrong, the idea goes. Plant based drinks are making headway. This may be so, but when I look at another concurrent piece of news, where soft drinks giant Coca-Cola is taking over the rest of the fairlife dairy brand in the US, I am more optimistic.
As Julian Mellentin says in the January 2020 issue of Dairy Industries International, the idea is not that dairy is being knocked out, but that it is evolving. Consumers are paying for value-added products, and the difference between the three companies is that. While Dean Foods and Borden have been competing in the commodity fluid milk market, which is declining, fairlife and other innovative dairy brands have been making headway in the value-added, branded dairy market. The products fairlife provide the discerning consumer come at a premium, as ultra-filtered and innovative. He also mentioned Graham’s Dairy here in the UK.
So, what next for dairy, is the ever present question. Happily, most people still have dairy in their refrigerators, even if they say they want to eat less of it. Cheese continues to go from strength to strength, as it offers flavour and a point of difference. It brings something to the party for consumers and their evolving needs. Ditto new products such as premium ice creams, skyr and quark. These products can provide people with the taste and mouthfeel they crave and sort out that vitamins and nutrients issues that come along with a completely plant based diet.
In some ways, the development of plant based products has made dairy up its game. I look forward to more exciting tastes and products for 2020.

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