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Top 2023 Dairy Industry Trends

Customer in supermarket buying dairy

Posted by: Quenton Lind on October 11, 2022 at 10:30 AM

2022 was full of surprises for the dairy industry. And 2023 already looks to be shaping up to be an interesting one, with the increased pressure on companies to innovate while facing staffing and supply chain shortages. 

Dairy industry growth will depend on new innovations and the drive to meet new consumer demands. And the top dairy companies are going to be utilizing these three distinct dairy industry trends in order to get ahead this year.

1. Dairy sustainability

One of the largest trends taking shape in the dairy industry currently is sustainable practices. 

Consumers are more active in their decision-making today than they have ever been. In fact, studies have found that 88% of customers want to buy from companies that help them make a difference, and 76% of Americans would switch their preferred packaging goods brands if they were offsetting carbon emissions. 

This is one of many dairy industry trends that relates to conscious consumers, whose numbers are increasing every year. Top dairy companies are looking for a way to cater to the conscious consumer by adopting more sustainable practices. These practices can take place in three different categories: economic, social, and environmental conditions.Hands pick up milk out of retail store cooler

So what does this trend mean? Simply put, if anything about the way you do business has a negative impact on the environment, the economy, or a social group, then you're going to have a very hard time convincing customers to buy your products. That's why the dairy industry’s growth heavily depends on companies taking ownership of their negative impacts by reusing waste, saving water, and making sure the air stays clean.

2. Supply chain fluctuations

Transportation of dairy products has faced a wide range of challenges since the global health emergency hit, including staffing shortages. This has made it difficult to transport raw product to plants and get the finished product to wholesalers and retailers. In some cases, dairy plants have even had to dump their products due to a lack of transportation. And even when transportation is available, fuel costs have created an additional barrier that burdens logistics. 

Man in hat and flannel shirt kneels to feed dairy cows

As we look to 2023, we can expect the supply chain to continue impacting dairy production. That means dairy plants should already be planning for these disruptions. For some, this might even include a possible switch in products to keep production lines running and get the final product out the door without unnecessary waste. For others, this might look like introducing dairy digitalization (e.g., a dairy scheduling platform that connects their plant to haulers). 

3. A stronger focus on health

The new year will, once again, bring an increased emphasis on health initiatives. And for many consumers, this includes a continued focus on dairy-free milk options. These options continue to find popularity not just in the milk section of stores, but in ice creams and other dairy-based products and treats. 

Since 1975, Americans have continually drank less cow milk than the year before. For many consumers, this change comes out of a concern about the negative impact of lactose in a person’s diet, as well as the impact on both the environment and the animals used to produce raw milk. 

milk tanks in dairy plant

But when it comes to the health benefits of raw milk, many consumers believe that the health benefits of drinking plant-based milk are the same as drinking dairy milk (when in reality, cow milk continues to have the highest nutritional value to consumers). 

As we enter 2023, awareness around the true nutritional value of cow milk compared with plant-based milks could contribute to higher dairy sales. Similarly, a focus on ethical dairy processes and treatment of animals will be top of mind for consumers, and likewise should be top of mind for all dairy-focused companies.

Dairy Innovation from a Top Company

Speaking of a growing need for innovation in dairy products, we wanted to share with you a product that stood out to us in 2019 — Chobani's second edition to their Milk Matters™ initiative, Farmer Batch. The company partnered with American Farmland Trust (AFT), a non-profit dedicated to protecting and promoting farmers' land and practices, and donating a portion of the profits of every new Farmer Batch Chobani® Greek Yogurt Milk & Cookies 4-pack to AFT — offering microgrants of up to $10,000. That caught our attention (and likely catches yours, as well).

Over the next year, we hope to see our dairy partners thrive with new and refreshing trends for our industry. Don't miss out — sign up to get notifications about the latest trends that hit our blog.

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