Dairy Trends

Posted: June 7, 2021

An inside look at trends which impact the dairy industry during June Dairy Month

Dairy producers have a deep commitment to taking care of their animals and play a vital role in providing sustainably produced foods. Understanding consumer and market trends not only helps dairy farmers understand what is driving today’s consumer, it also uncovers new opportunities to grow sales of dairy.

The top five national dairy trends are:

  1. Demand for Local
    Supporting local businesses, from farm to fork, has been the top of mind for consumers prior to the pandemic. In fact, 50% of global consumers already associated “high quality” with locally sourced products.
    COVID-19 has reignited a sense of localism and community among consumers. Local businesses are adapting to support their communities and globalization is shrinking, supporting this more local mindset.
    With more than 6,500 dairy farms in the Midwest, milk’s journey from the farm to the grocery story only takes about 48 hours, giving dairy a local story to tell.
  2. Conscious Consumption
    Conscious consumerism has been a growing trend in recent years. Prior to COVID-19, consumers were already leaning into ethics and belief-driven buying.
    Over half of respondents in a 2018 study indicated they make purchases based on their beliefs. A new study by the IBM Institute for Business Value in partnership with the National Retail Federation found that one-third of global consumers would abandon even their favorite brand if it doesn’t align with their personal values.
    As a result of the pandemic, consumers are now even more acutely aware of how companies treat their employees and they are looking for an increased transparency in all stages of the supply chain.
  3. Immune Health
    Consumers have an increased understanding of the connection between their diet and immune health. This is not a new interest among consumers, yet the coronavirus has accelerated the growth of this trend.
    Last year, U.S. total mass multi-outlet and convenience store dollar sales of immunity products jumped 199%.
    Fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir have live and active cultures that are a source of probiotics, which help aid digestive health. Fermented milk is predicted to be the fastest-growing milk segment, driven by digestive health benefits.
  4. E-Commerce
    In March 2020, over half of consumers reported that they had purchased groceries online. The pandemic has generated a huge group of first-time online shoppers who, now having experienced the convenience of online grocery shopping, may return.
    In fact, 35% of consumers said they are very likely to buy groceries online after the stay-at-home restrictions have ended and 49% say they are somewhat likely.
    According to a 2020 MilkPEP (Milk Processor Education Program)and Kantar study, milk currently ranks #9 in fastest growing categories in e-commerce, up 279% from this time a year ago. Separately, a MilkPEP study conducted in 2018 in partnership with Inmar showed that shoppers adding milk to their online cart had a larger E-commerce basket.
  5. Comfort and Enjoyment
    In times of uncertainty, cutting back is par for the course. However, consumers are still looking for moments of comfort and joy. Especially as there is a growing understanding of the value of slowing down, indulgence and calming benefits will be key.
    From ice cream to pizza, dairy is prime for elevating real enjoyment for today’s shopper. With an increase in at-home meal occasions, dairy will also continue to grow in popularity as an ingredient.

Source: Midwest Dairy

Deutsch on Dairy

Bill Deutsch looks at what’s trending in dairy as a Sycamore farmer and Chairman of the Illinois Division of Midwest Dairy. An increase in dairy product consumption and improved markets help his bottom line.

“Consumers have more of a role in how we farm today,” said Bill. “Their purchasing habits impact dairy farms.”

Also trending is sustainability on farms. Bill has been putting sustainability into action on his own dairy farm. Some examples of sustainable farming practices include: crop rotation, minimum tillage crop farming, managing manure recycling, and conservation practices.

Caring for his cows and the environment are essential to his dairy farm’s success.

“My goal is to leave my farm in better environmental shape for future generations,” said Bill. “As a dairy farmer we have an opportunity to improve our planet and must do our part to help produce wholesome and abundant food for the world.”


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