The outlook for the dairy sector is positive, particularly as incomes rise and nations become increasingly urbanised, meaning individuals tend to receive more of their calories from proteins (which includes dairy) rather than carbohydrates (such as grains). This factor means global demand for dairy is expected to increase by 2.5 per cent per annum to 2020, also driven by rising incomes in emerging markets, for example the growing popularity of dairy products and cheeses in Asia.
Health and nutrition are also contributing to dairy’s growth. Some dairy companies are starting to use sustainable nutrition (healthy food that has been produced in an environmentally-friendly way) in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this there is a significant trend, particularly among millennials, to seek natural foods such as probiotics.2
There are other market trends to which the dairy industry is responding, for example the move towards smaller portion sizes, both to counter the problem of food waste as well as rising levels of obesity. On-the-go consumption is also growing, as is the demand for convenience solutions.
The development of new products leads to new packaging formats. Convenience examples include reclosable stand-up pouches for grated cheese; a four pack of 4oz yoghurt pots meets the need both for smaller packs and a ‘grab and go’ solution; a ¾oz cheese stick offers the benefits of a healthy snack at just 70 calories per portion.