Over the past year, we have seen a notable shift within the global dairy landscape as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, we can expect to see new innovations taking shape that focus on dairy and the plant-based revolution, health and immunity, innovative packaging, and even the possibility of lab-made dairy.
With the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2021 now open for entries, FoodBev takes a look at the top trends shaping the international dairy industry today.
Hybrids – 50/50
Hybrid dairy offers new opportunities within the dairy space, especially as plant-based alternatives begin to attract a broader segment of consumers beyond vegans. Innova’s survey revealed that 36% of consumers would prefer a mix of plant and animals in their diet, while 22% voted for fully animal-sourced and 23% fully plant-based.
The fusion of dairy and non-dairy offers consumers the best of dairy and plants in one. Julian Mellentin, director and founder of New Nutrition Business, said: “Consumers may want to boost protein intake, cut dairy in the interest of a lactose-free diet or add more vegetables to their diet. Blends offer an easy way to achieve these goals.” Moving forward, we can expect to see more consumers cutting back on their dairy intake and taking a ‘best of both’ approach.
Brands already tapping into this trend include: Up and Go banana and honey flavoured breakfast drink, which is made from a smooth blend of milk and oats and Live Real Farms 50:50 blend of lactose-free milk and oat or almond drink.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many consumers are seeking products that go beyond tradition, and for most, that promote physical and mental wellness, thus opening many opportunities in the dairy industry for new, innovative solutions. One trend gathering pace is the introduction of dairy ingredients that boost overall mood or enhance physical health.
Functional benefits include improved sleep, reduced stress, and calmed anxiety. According to Global Data’s 2019 Q3 global consumer survey, 74% of consumers are concerned or very concerned about stress and anxiety.
The pandemic has magnified concerns over stress and anxiety, and many people are looking for cognitive and stress management support. At a time where there is growing interest in one’s mental and physical health, it’s no surprise that brands are implementing functional ingredients into their products to address the growing consumer demand for food as medicine.
A new ingredient that has recently been added to the NZMP (ingredients by Fonterra) portfolio is milk phospholipids. Charlotte Ortiz, marketing and communications manager at Fonterra, said: “Phospholipids are clinically proven to help manage the effects of stress, allowing consumers to stay focused and positive under stress.”
Already, Friesland Campina Ingredients has entered the mental health category with its Biotis GOS range containing galactooligosaccharides (GOS), a dairy prebiotic that stimulates the growth of gut bacteria, which may help consumers feel less stressed and anxious.
As well as mood-boosting ingredients, the dairy market is seeing a growing number of launches that make health and beauty claims through the use of hero ingredients such as, collagen proteins for maintaining healthy skin and hair, and calcium for stronger teeth and bones. Vitasoy, for example, has launched a black soya bean-based drink that features antioxidant properties for healthy skin and nails.
How consumers eat has changed significantly over recent years, amid rising concerns about the impact of commercial farming on our lifestyles, health, and environments. Thus, consumers are seeking to minimise their dairy intake, creating opportunities within the dairy manufacturing sector.
While we are already seeing a notable shift towards animal-free, plant-based dairy alternatives, arguably, “it’s just not dairy,” said Dr Eyal Afergan, founder and CEO of Imaginary. The plant-based and flexitarian markets may offer a sustainable and reliable solution when it comes to limiting the impact of the food production process on the environment, but milk alternatives lack the sensory and nutritional properties as real milk, including essential amino acid and protein. As a result, could we expect to see the rollout of real dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt without needing a single cow?
Company’s such as Israeli food-tech start-up Remik, a developer of animal-free dairy products, believes it is possible to make dairy products that are genetically indistinguishable from the real thing. This is achieved through the use of a unique, patented process called precision fermentation to replicate the properties of the dairy proteins without compromising taste, functionality and nutritional value. Not only does it reduce the impact on the environment, but lab-made dairy also improves on conventional dairy by eliminating cholesterol, lactose and somatic cells.
Other companies, like Perfect Day, an acellular agriculture company, are using microflora to produce animal-like dairy proteins. According to a recent report carried out by RethinkX, by 2030, modern food products will be both cheaper and better quality than their animal-derived counterparts.
The addition of lab-created dairy could be highly valued among consumers who are cautious of both animal welfare and their environmental footprint. However, lab-grown dairy still faces several formulation challenges including the ability to mimic the taste and texture of conventional dairy.
Arguably, the packaging of products is just as important as the contents inside and as we move into 2021 consumers demand for dairy packaging that is more visually appealing, sustainable and functional is triggering the launch of new designs.
Convenience is also an important criterion for dairy companies to consider. “Packaging is being driven by consumers who want products that are packaged for convenient use,” added Chip Simenz, VP of sales for US based supplier ProMach Inc’s Matrix brand of flexible packaging. We expect to see new, convenient formats popping up on our shelves this year, including stand-up pouches, hand-held bars, and newer concepts such as sour cream in easy-squeeze packages and individually wrapped gourmet chesses such as BelGioioso Cheese Artigiano’s line.
From controlled and modified atmosphere packaging that can contribute to extended shelf life and active packaging used to maintain freshness to QR code embedded packaging that will continue to build interactive experiences for consumers, technology will continue to play a massive role within the dairy packaging industry.
Has your company got an award-worthy new dairy innovation? Enter the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2021 to showcase your innovations and gain global recognition.
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