How the Desire for Clean-Label, High-Protein and Low-Sugar Products is Changing the Dairy Industry

The desire for products featuring clean ingredients has completely taken over every sector of the food industry, including the dairy industry. Although cow’s milk has seen a decrease in sales over the past few years, cheese, ice cream and yogurt sales have seen a steady increase. With the popularity of low carb, high-fat diets on the rise, it doesn’t appear that this trend will be changing any time soon.

Having a clean-label means more than just simplifying the list of ingredients in a product. Consumers want to purchase from companies that have transparent business practices, and they have no problem paying for it. Sustainability, ethical production and food safety are just a few of the things consumers look for when they are going to purchase a product. Companies are having to figure out ways to simplify formulations of their products that include ingredients that consumers know and trust, but also provide the shelf life and functionality needed for packaged products.

Dairy products are chock-full of protein and calcium. This makes dairy nutrient dense and popular among the health-conscious consumer. Although plant-based products are popular alternatives, they cannot compete with the nutrients that are packed into dairy products. Whole-fat milk and yogurts are increasing in popularity again and almost all of the cheese (92 percent) that was sold last year was regular fat. Greek yogurts are full probiotics. People know these healthy bacteria can aid in helping digestion while regulating the number of bacteria in the gut. Because of the rise in probiotic popularity, companies like Kemps are even adding probiotics to their milk.

Ice creams and other frozen treats may be an indulgence, but all levels of consumers continue to purchase these delicious treats. Low-sugar, high-protein options, like Halo Top, have completely taken over the market through their use of social media marketing and low-calorie count. Brands like Archer Farms by Target are making similar products to compete with Halo Top. By making the entire pint of ice cream less than 300 calories, and throwing that information on the front label, it is easy to see why Halo Top, and other similar companies, have seen rapid growth.

Cheese is a staple in almost every American home. You can find everything from exclusive artisan goat cheese with blueberry and vanilla to string cheese for your child’s lunch right at your local grocer. Because of diets like The Ketogenic Diet, whole-fat cheese has seen an increase in popularity. Protein snacking kits, like the Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Pack, include a meat product, a cheese product and one other indulgent product, like nuts, olives or raisins. Millennials are the driving force behind “better-for-you” snacks and the reason why companies are having to create snacks that are fulfilling, responsibly-sourced and nutritious to help get this demographic through the day.

Coca-Cola recently came out with a premium milk company, Fairlife. Fairlife uses an innovative cold-filtration process to separate the milk into five components: water, minerals, lactose, protein and fat. They then use a special process to recombine them to create their unique ultra-filtered milk loaded with natural nutrition. The end result yields a milk that has no lactose, less sugar and more protein and calcium than regular milk.

As the dairy industry continues to find new and innovative ways to create and improve products, new job opportunities will become available. For more information and any questions regarding opportunities in the dairy industry, contact us at The Performance Exchange today.