What our changing diet means for the protein industry
As gym-goers and health-conscious millennials embark on high-protein diets, we’ve seen a positive outlook for the dairy sector, with global demand for dairy expected to increase by 2.5% per annum to 2020.
The UK has seen a rocketing demand for high-protein consumables, resulting in food brands such as Weetabix, Mars and Batchelors launching enhanced protein versions of their products.
Research has found that individuals tend to receive more of their daily calories from proteins (which includes dairy) rather than carbohydrates (such as grains).
Lindsey Ormond, business development manager for health & performance nutrition at Arla Foods Ingredients, said dairy proteins hold an attraction for consumers seeking a more natural, nutritious and long-term way to manage their weight, instead of a quick-fix.
UN Sustainable Development Goals improve environmentally-friendly working practices
A further demand on the dairy industry is a rapidly increasing need for transparency across food chains. Consumers now look to access information about the companies they buy from, such as nutritional information, as well as where the ingredients were sourced.
Organizations are recognizing the value of consumer confidence in their company and its brand, and are taking steps to improve their supply chain traceability.
Many dairy companies are taking further steps and 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.
The Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN also include achieving sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, as well as halving per capita global food waste at retailer and consumer levels by 2030.
This also covers reducing food losses along the production and supply chains.
These targets give great insight into how the future looks for the dairy sector. The UN’s goals, as well as environmentally-conscious consumers, suggest the shift towards environmentally-friendly working practices and transparency amongst brands is set to continue long into the future.
Growing need for convenience
Health-conscious yet time-poor consumers are also influencing dairy industry trends. Our growing need for convenience food has seen a move towards new product developments, new packaging formats and ‘grab and go’ solutions.
On-the-go consumption is growing, as is the demand for smaller portions and convenience solutions. Examples include resealable stand-up pouches for cheese, ‘snack’ cheeses in small portions, individual 4oz yoghurt pots, probiotic drink bottles, and miniature ice cream tubs, to name but a few.
The knock-on effect is that brands need to be ever more innovative in their packaging approaches, production methods, and marketing. One such company taking a strong and innovative approach is India’s Goodness! Beverages, which has recognized a gap in the market for on-the-go breakfast products.
Its range of breakfast smoothies includes oat and yogurt varieties that have a 90-day shelf-life without any artificial ingredients, and contain at least 5g of protein.
The future of the protein market
The dairy industry’s response to protein market trends, such as the move toward smaller portion sizes, may in turn counter issues such as food waste and rising obesity levels.
Food legislation and targets, such as those set by the UN, play a big part in dairy industry changes. However, it appears that consumer trends and food preferences are the main cause of change in the sector.
As well as on-going changes in existing dairy and protein consumer markets, emerging markets - such as the growing popularity of dairy products in Asia - are set to mean future growth for the sector.
Katy Crouch is a marketing executive writing on behalf of www.linxglobal.com/, which produces coding solutions for dairy products globally.