At present, the market landscape of the dairy industry is turbulent due to a number of challenges in the sector. However, favorable long-term consumer trends and innovative technologies provide a wide range of opportunities for companies in the dairy industry. Modern consumers are also demanding more from their dairy products. Furthermore, there has been an increasing inclination of consumers towards ‘healthy eating habits’, which has given rise to trends in dairy products such as clean labels, value-added ingredients, portability, and sugar reduction. Meeting both traditional and evolving demands in a dairy industry will require companies, processors, and retailers to provide consumers with nutritious, safe, convenient, and value for money options in dairy products. Here are some of the top dairy industry trends to keep track of in 2018.
Today’s consumers are extremely open to experiments in food flavors. This is good news for companies in the dairy industry as they can provide consumers with dairy food products with innovative flavors. Different flavors are a great way to entice customers who are constantly on the lookout for new sensory experiences. Manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve by even introducing unusual flavors in dairy products.
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Growth of Clean Labels
Additives, artificial preservatives, and chemicals are a big no for modern consumers. This has made clean-label products less of a trend and more of a necessity in the dairy industry. Clean labels prove to be beneficial not only for consumers but also for manufacturers. They help increase customer trust and mitigate brand risk in cases where consumer perceptions of health are highly dynamic.
Plant-based milk, meat alternatives, and vegan offerings are going mainstream in the dairy industry. Companies are increasingly leveraging the technical and functional benefits of plants in the development of dairy products, which drives more variety and excitement into the offerings. Offering plant-based products is a lucrative option for players in the dairy industry to join the ‘health and fitness’ bandwagon.
Traceability and Transparency
Modern consumers are highly informed and demand transparency across food chains from the companies that they buy from. Consumers expect companies to furnish all the essential information ranging from their sourcing policies and product nutritional information to their human rights policies. This trend holds true especially for food products including dairy food products. Most companies in the dairy food industry have already started to adhere to this trend to retain the trust of their customers and improve their goodwill.
Reduction in Added Sugar
Sugar is the new ‘evil ingredient’ in the food industry in general. With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the health risks of consuming excessive sugar, companies in the dairy foods market are being forced to innovate their offerings. While health remains a concern, consumers are also unwilling to compromise on the taste of dairy products. This puts further pressure on manufacturers in the dairy industry to satisfy this segment of customers without making the products decline in terms of quality or taste.