Lancaster, PA, 2nd Dec 2021, ZEXPRWIRE, There was a time that milkmen ruled the dairy industry. They delivered fresh milk to every household in the morning. However, a few decades ago, they drastically neared extinction. Now, getting dairy products is as easy as going to the next convenience store or grocery store and picking up a carton that sometimes, might not contain entirely milk. Every part of the world is changing just as people are changing too. But what exactly has changed, and what is changing in the current dairy industry? 

Ethical, Sustainable Milk: Hybrids, Plant-Based & Functional Focused Alternatives

After receiving his Oscar for the best male performance in the movie, Joker, Joaquin Phoenix spoke out against the practices of the dairy industry. That speech follows the loud activism championed by organizations like PETA, Animal Outlook, Cruelty-Free International, and Animal Legal Defense Fund activism. As people worry more about sustainability and animal treatment, new solutions arise. There’s a shift from animal dairy products to more animal-free dairy products, plant-based products, and hybrids. There are more people now that will favor hybrid dairy products sourced from both plants and animals or fully plant-sourced dairy products than there are people that will favor fully animal-sourced products. In a survey by Innova, while 36% of the consumers surveyed favored a hybrid dairy product, 23% favored animal-based and 22% chose plant-based dairy. Products like almond milk or oat milk are no longer strange sights in the dairy aisle of a grocery store. However, sustainability and animal treatment concerns aren’t the only trend drivers of the dairy industry. 

Health-Focused Dairy Products

We’re in an age where almost everyone is conscious about their bodies as well as their physical and mental health. Consumers are more careful of what they eat. Consequently, dairy manufacturers are introducing more healthy, functional dairy products. One such trend is the reduction of sugar in dairy products. Everyone knows too much sugar is bad for your health and the dairy industry is aware of this too. Dairy manufacturers now produce a lot more sugar-free products or products with very low amounts of sugar. Other products such as fat-free milk and lactose-free milk that cater to people with specific health needs or conditions are also being introduced. Apart from physical health, dairy companies are now looking to and introducing products that cater to mental health and even beauty. 

Dairy Manufacturers are More Research-Based than Ever

Once upon a time, the dairy industry was almost entirely made up of small and medium farms that made use of milkmen. According to The Economist and USDA, at one point there were more than 3.6 million dairy farms in the United States, now there are less than forty thousand left. Nonetheless, this industry is producing more milk than it ever has. This points to the rise of large, consolidated farms that can buy out the small players. They rely on advanced dairy equipment and focus on economies of scale.

The dairy industry has become overrun by large corporations constantly trying to meet the different needs, and often changing tastes of their diverse base of customers. As a result, they are constantly researching to find the next dairy product, flavor, or ingredients to appeal to the general public; from research into plant-based ingredients to genetically enhanced production to health-enhancing dairy products. While Remilk; a food tech startup, is attempting to use precision fermentation to produce healthier, more sustainable dairy products that are genetically similar to real dairy while retaining the taste and nutrients, Perfect Day is creating dairy proteins from microflora and companies like Friesland and Fonterra are working to produce dairy products that reduce stress and anxiety in consumers.  

Other trends in the dairy industry include an increase in clean label products and general transparency over ingredients used in manufacturing. 

The next few years will surely be interesting in the dairy industry as more interesting dairy products will be introduced and even more trends will evolve from the current trends. One thing we know is that humans will continue consuming milk. The question is how the milk industry will adapt. If there’s something that the iconic ‘Got Milk’ campaign taught us, it’s that milk will find a way.

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