The Changing Face of Dairy Products

17 Oct 2014

With a whole glut of new products and with more emphasis on unique and specialist items, dairy as a whole has been an interesting ride for many over the past few years. Food & Drink International has been witness to many of these changes, but perhaps most of all to convenience products and offerings related […]

The Changing Face of Dairy Products

With a whole glut of new products and with more emphasis on unique and specialist items, dairy as a whole has been an interesting ride for many over the past few years. Food & Drink International has been witness to many of these changes, but perhaps most of all to convenience products and offerings related to health.

With an emphasis on taste, consumers are demanding dairy products that are easy to prepare or eat straight from packaging, which has meant a great deal of change within the industry. Several manufacturers have diversified from one or two simple products to a whole range of enticing brands and formulations.

With so many different products coming to market and with packaging and technology keeping up with new tastes, it could be said it’s never been a more exciting time for the industry in terms of innovation. This is particularly true when you consider the move of most consumers to healthier and more convenient products overall. The key to success lies with the use of new, efficient machinery and its associated supply chain – which has also increased its duty of responsibility to condition of products, including making leaps in refrigeration techniques and storage.

The rise of cheese as a luxury product as well as a staple foodstuff has been thanks largely to the differentiation of artisanal or specialist products and everyday, value items. It’s also been helped by innovative products aimed at the food on the go market which has gone hand in hand with packaging advances as well as machinery improvements.

On the production side, new cheese culture ranges for cottage cheese applications have been specifically developed to allow medium- and large-scale cheese producers to create dairy products with great texture and mouthfeel, while maximising profits.

As regular judges at the International Cheese Awards, held annually in the UK, we at Food & Drink International have noticed a significant spike in entries from producers wanting to showcase convenience products. Be they netted, snack-sized cheese products or new ranges of milk-based chilled drinks, the sheer variety on offer and new launches seems to suggest that food on the go, paired with perceived health benefits, is certainly having an impact on the industry as a whole.

Thankfully, technology is keeping up with these advances in demand and innovation for new products, with new automated solutions able to meet the speeds and efficiency needed. A focus on innovation when it comes to packaging is also a noticeable step in the right direction, with shelf-ready, safe and attractive options becoming available across the board. These are exciting times indeed for an industry that is not without its challenges. Making changes and looking forward is paying dividends.

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