Dairy Dialog podcast 166: Kerry, Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, OpenDairy

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 166: Kerry, Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, OpenDairy
Dairy Dialog podcast 166: Kerry, Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, OpenDairy

Related tags Kerry Dairy Milk

This week, we have conversations with Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry; Martijn Goedhart, co-founder of OpenDairy; and Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield co-founder and former CEO, on the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Charlie Hyland at StoneX.

OpenDairy launches digital marketplace for dairy trading industry

OpenDairy has launched its managed marketplace for the dairy trading industry.

The platform enables buyers and sellers of dairy commodities to connect and trade with each other directly and transparently.

OpenDairy is free to use, sellers and buyers only pay a fee per transaction.

Buyers are able to submit their requirements and specifications and the platform's system will match the relevant suppliers for each product. Sellers are able to upload their offers for worldwide buyers to view and react to. To facilitate a full-service experience to platform users, the company has integrated logistical and financing services.

OpenDairy has partnered with financial and credit companies to ensure sellers are paid quickly and buyers have extended payment terms. The platform has integrated financing functionalities.

OpenDairy collaborates with logistics and transportation experts to handle all transportation and documents that clients need to deal directly through the platform.

The platform’s centralized order-management also allows for simple and transparent processes, according to the company. OpenDairy said the system allows buyers and sellers to follow their orders in real-time for more accurate logistics information and peace of mind.

Users can rate each other post-transaction and this information is made public.

The idea to digitize the dairy trading business came from founders Henk de Weijer and Martijn Goedhart, both of whom worked as traders at Hoogwegt — one of the biggest companies in the sector — for a decade.

“Our time spent working in the industry revealed to us a crucial need for transparency in each step of the trade process. The time for innovation is now and we know the only way to achieve this is through digitizing the entire process from start to finish,”​ de Weijer said.

During the pilot phase in 2021, the platform generated multiple trades between buyers and sellers all over Europe. In 2022, the company expects to reach a trading-volume of 40.000 tonnes, mainly milk powders and butter.

Stonyfield co-founder launches Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership

Last fall, 89 organic family farms across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and eastern New York received the news that Horizon, a brand owned by Danone North America, was terminating its purchase contracts, effective in early 2023.

Subsequently Maple Hill Creamery announced the cancellation of contracts for an additional 46 farms.

In response, Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield co-founder and former CEO, has formed the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, a partnership intended to solve the crisis of disappearing family farms.

The partnership, a collaboration of farmers, processors, activists and government agencies, is inviting consumers to sign a pledge to purchase 25% of their weekly dairy purchases from 35 brands. The brands have committed to increase their purchases of northeast organic family farmers’ milk to help the 135 at-risk farms.

The group is also inviting grocers, restaurants, cafeterias and any outlets that sell dairy products to also become licensed as partners. Licensed partners who have signed affidavits to grow their organic purchases will be entitled to display the partnership logo at the point of sale and also online.

The partnership board, in addition to Hirshberg, consists of: Peter Allison, Farm to Institution, LLC, (VT); Diane Bothfeld, Agency of Agriculture (VT); Leon and Abbie Corse, Vermont Organic Dairy Farmers; Claire Eaton, ME Dept of Agriculture; Annie Watson, Maine Organic Milk Company and Maine dairy farmer; and Eric Ziehm, New York organic dairy farmer.

Advisors include Michael Brown, CROPP Cooperative (ME); Rose Forrest, Sodexo sustainability coordinator (RI); Ed Maltby, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Assn (MA); Peter Miller, Miller Family Farm (VT); Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield Organic (NH), and Albert Straus, Straus Organic Creamery (CA).

The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership said it is encouraging all stakeholders in the food system - consumers, large and small dairy processors, retailers, restaurants, school lunch programs, college cafeterias and the region’s organic farmers - to support the region’s organic family farmers and provide a stable long-term demand.

“The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership celebrates the fact that when it comes to supporting our region’s organic family farmers, it really does take a village,”​ said Hirshberg.

“Everyone has a stake in the long-term financial health of these farms and farm families. The simple act of pledging to purchase one-quarter of dairy items from the brands, processors and farms who support these family farmers, can help to ensure that these farms will remain healthy, vibrant, financially viable, and environmentally and climate-positive parts of the northeast region for generations to come.”

Kerry highlights top flavors for innovation in 2022 Global Taste Charts

Tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022, according to taste and nutrition company Kerry.

Trends that were accelerated by the Covid pandemic have developed and will become more sophisticated this year, with consumers seeking new tastes paired with familiar formats and flavors – leading to interesting combinations such as beer blended with kombucha and sage or chocolate milkshakes with lavender, the company said.

The insights are contained in Kerry’s Global Taste Charts for 2022, which uncovers the flavors and ingredients set to inspire food and beverage innovators in the coming year. Kerry uses a range of sources to create the charts and provide an in-depth analysis of taste trends.

These range from scanning product launch activity, restaurant and café menu penetration, to the commissioning of research reports. In addition, Kerry’s proprietary internal insight engines, such as Trendspotter, look at social media influencer content, as well as the company’s own chefs, baristas and mixologists.

Taste trends for 2022

A desire for authentic flavors is driven by an interest in long-term wellness and overall health following the Covid-19 pandemic, while cravings for more novel flavors such as numerous varieties of chocolate/cocoa, cheese, smoke and named chilli such as ghost pepper and jalapeno are being led by consumers seeking surprise and fun from their food and beverages.

In the US, these trends include Nashville Hot, “everything bagel” seasoning and chili crisp. Restrictions around movement have also led to consumers travelling the world through food, which is highlighted in Kerry’s new cuisine chart and underlined by cuisine-specific entries across savory charts including Mexican, Thai and Korean.  For example, in the US, Furikake and Sambal have been trending in meals and entrées. Furikake alone has grown by 103% on restaurant menus versus four years ago (as reported by Datassential Menu Trends 2021).

Indulgence and comfort are also important to consumers and can be invoked with traditional flavors like chocolate and sweet flavors, or from visiting a foodservice chain that was closed during the pandemic. Alcohol and dessert-inspired flavors are emerging across sweet and beverage charts, driven by limited time offers and seasonal releases.  Across the US, tastes such as tahini, alcohol and cocktail-inspired (whiskey, Kahlua), and saffron are emerging across the sweet food and treat spectrum. Tahini alone has grown by 15.3% on restaurant menus versus four years ago (Datassential Menu Trends 2021).

Meanwhile, with an increasing focus on gut health, immune support and emotional wellbeing, consumers are looking for better-for-you food and beverages that make them feel like they are taking an active role in their future health – but also taste good. This is evident through the emergence of botanical, citrus and fermented flavors throughout the charts. In the US, turmeric has seen a 129% increase in use on restaurant menus versus four years ago (Datassential Menu Trends 2021). 

Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director at Kerry, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumers on a deeply emotional level, changing consumers priorities and perceptions about health and wellness. This has certainly impacted their overall food and beverage preferences, challenging innovators to create new tastes that will drive their new product development and renovation successes.

“Emerging flavors and ingredients paint a picture of the proactive consumer, looking for functionally forward food and beverages that aid in their overall health and wellness goals. Additionally, in the current travel-deprived marketplace, traveling through the tastebuds has significantly grown - with Asian and Latin American flavors set to make a bold comeback in emerging foods and drinks. We see consumers seeking an element of surprise from traditional formats, as well as comfort - brands can appeal to this desire for novelty by pairing emerging and up-and-coming flavors with old classics.”

Sustainability is another important driver and consumers are now seeking ingredients that are responsibly sourced and back by provenance. Recent research by Kerry found that globally 49% of consumers are now considering sustainability when buying food and beverages.

“Consumers are also actively seeking out sustainable food and beverage products that have a significantly positive impact on the planet as well as on their personal health and wellbeing, looking for products with consumer-friendly ingredients, clean label claims and locally sourced ingredients. In the charts, we see this demand through ingredients demonstrating greater provenance, such as botanicals and spices ethically sourced from their country of origin. We have also started to see some ingredients associated with plant-based foods having a dual role in taste. This is all contributing to the flavor trends we are seeing today, which are pointing towards authentic taste experiences,”​ Nair concluded.

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