Consumer Trends: Reinvigorating Dairy

Dairy bottlers are turning to nutritionally fortified and flavor intensive dairy products to combat a declining milk demand.

WHITE MARSH, Md. (TIC Gums) — Repositioning dairy products to appeal to the health conscious consumer while still providing “indulgent” textures was one of the topics of discussion during the IDFA Milk and Cultured Dairy Conference in Kansas City, MO. Tristan Zuber, regional account manager for TIC Gums presented “Developing Textures in Emerging Dairy Markets” on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. 

Manipulating texture in dairy products is an under-utilized capability in part because sensory analysis of texture can be very subjective. Food scientists and developers at TIC Gums are employing language from the Texture Lexicon to describe the attributes of texture and mouth feel that are uniquely experienced, into a measurable and standardized way. Manipulating texture effects the way dairy products are experienced. 

Demand For Milk Slowing

Thirty years ago, milk was a staple product in the majority of US home refrigerators.

But during the last decade, annual per capita consumption of milk dropped by over two gallons.  Other beverages compete successfully with milk in the early morning and throughout the rest of the day. Innovation will be the key to the successful future of dairy based beverages and manipulating texture is part of the equation. 

Reinvigorating Dairy

Dairy bottlers are turning to nutritionally fortified and flavor intensive dairy products to draw customers back. Added vitamins, minerals, and fiber are the value-added nutrients that make these drinks more appealing. Chocolate and strawberry are still the two most favorite flavors, but other fruit and even coffee flavors are gaining wider acceptance. 

In keeping with the emphasis on health, yogurt sales have surged. Spoon and drinkable yogurt with fruit, granola and other flavored additions contribute to the marketability and enjoyment consumers need to make repeat purchases. 

Using Texture To Stay Ahead

Dairy product designers and development scientists can add value and positive distinctions to their products by manipulating texture, even slightly. The best designs are those that include the plan for texture early in the development process. “It’s very hard to add texture back into finished products if fat and sugar are reduced,” said Zuber. “Texture is as important to the acceptance of dairy products  as is flavor. And there are ways to manipulate it to fit the types of products under development.”

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