IFCN Dairy Conference says animal based dairy will outlive alternative “milks”

Dairy experts from 48 countries discussed the future of dairy production during the IFCN Dairy Conference which took place June 17-19 in Berlin. The event focused on the dairy trends in the last 20 years, the predictions until 2040 and a special topic exploring different types of milk.

Together with 85 research partners, IFCN celebrated its 20th anniversary and took a look at the organisations’ success story. Beginning in 2000, today the network co-operates with researchers in 120 countries to create a better understanding of the dairy world.

In the last twenty years, production has grown by more than 60 % – with demand moving at a similar pace. A forerunner in this development is India with a growth of 115 mill t SCM (solid corrected milk to 4 % fat and 3.3 % protein).

Dr. Torsten Hemme, managing director of the IFCN, said: “When I started the IFCN in 2000, I did not expect this growth which represents almost ten times the German milk production.”

Besides India, countries like Brazil, China, US and the EU increased milk production substantially. Contrary to this, in countries such as Australia, Japan and Russia milk production is declining.

IFCN research partner Michael Mishchenko from Russia said: “It is very easy to destroy a dairy sector, but very difficult to rebuild it.” With the growing population and similar growth of per capita predicted until 2040, it is likely that demand will increase faster than supply.

The rise of alternative “milks”

The conference put a key focus on different types of milk and their challenges, complexities and opportunities. During workshop sessions, three main categories were defined: source (type of animals/ plant-based milk/ synthetic milk), farming practice (organic, GMO free milk, etc.) and processing (composition of liquid milk).

Alternative milk is gaining popularity, especially in the developed regions of the world where saturated consumers are demanding new types of “milk” – while emphasising less on the proven nutritional benefits of dairy milk.

However, Andrea Capkovicova, representative of the European Commission, said: “Sales of plant-based drinks are growing fast both in value and volume but so far, they remain a small market portion. In 2018, they represented 4% share on cow milk volume sales.”

Estimations of IFCN Research Partners show that animal based dairy products will outlive alternative kinds of “milk”. Nevertheless, in order to shape this process, the dairy sector needs to develop and make serious efforts to cope with the requirements of future consumers.

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