In the rapidly evolving global landscape, the dairy industry is no exception.
Shifting consumer preferences, rising health consciousness, growing population, emerging technologies, and environmental concerns are transforming the trends in the dairy sector.
In 2023, the dairy industry witnessed dynamic shifts in demand and consumption patterns, particularly for yogurt, cheese, and milk.
The demand for dairy products continues to rise, as the dairy market size is estimated at 590.81 billion USD in 2023 and is expected to reach 759.13 billion USD by 2029.
Moreover, the global dairy industry has experienced significant supply fluctuations due to ongoing supply chain disruptions since the pandemic and unpredictable weather conditions.
These challenges encouraged stakeholders to focus on alternatives and innovations, with versatility redefining the dairy industry and driving its sustained growth.
So, what’s ahead for the dairy industry? Let’s explore the dairy trend the industry will unleash and experience.
5 Trends in the Dairy Sector
The past year has challenged the dairy industry in several ways, yet the sector has shown remarkable resilience.
The dairy sector – trends and opportunities businesses should prepare for the next three to five years include the following:
- Cultured Dairy – Believed to enhance gut health and boost the immune system, cultured Dairy is gaining prominence for its probiotic content.
- Plant-Based Dairy – Reflects growing consumer interest in environmentally friendly and vegan options such as almond milk and soy yogurt.
- Weight-friendly Dairy – Catering to health-conscious consumers, reduced fat and sugar content products are gaining popularity for nutritional benefits while managing weight.
- Healthier Cheese Selections – The dairy industry is introducing healthier cheese options to satisfy consumers’ desire for nutritious yet indulgent choices.
- High Protein Dairy Beverages – The upcoming trends are meeting the demand of fitness enthusiasts and those seeking convenient, protein-rich options in their diets, protein shakes and fortified milk.
This blog will delve into these top 5 dairy industry trends, examining their implications for the world dairy sector and consumers.
1. Immunity-Boosting Cultured Dairy
Immunity-boosting cultured dairy choices are the trends shaping dairy products. These products include yogurt, kefir, and fermented milk drinks rich in probiotics and beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut microbiome and improve digestion.
While consumers used it in the pre-pandemic era, the significance of immunity-boosting food and drink choices has increased post-pandemic, and a high percentage of consumers have turned to cultured dairy product consumption daily.
The added functional and nutritional value that attracts consumers to cultured dairy products offered by manufacturers include:
- Diverse flavour options
- Increased probiotic
- Immune system support
- Lactose digestibility
- Versatile culinary ingredient
- Potential weight management
- Contribution to a balanced diet
As consumers increasingly prioritize wellness, this trend reflects a desire for functional foods to contribute to overall health and immune resilience.
2. Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives
As we explore the emerging dairy trends, plant-based dairy alternatives are making a splash. The milk substitute market amounts to US$23.2bn in 2023, with an expected growth volume of 7.0% in 2024.
The dairy industry has seen significant growth in the market for plant-based dairy products due to its increasing popularity among consumers with allergies and intolerances or those who prefer a dairy-free diet.
Plant-based offerings have expanded beyond milk to include yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, with ongoing innovation in flavors and ingredients.
Moreover, the emerging competition in plant-based dairy products comes from animal-free dairy milk, offering benefits like lactose-free and cholesterol-free claims and applicability in various dairy products.
We’ve compiled some unique plant-based dairy alternatives you might have heard of:
Have you heard of potato milk? It’s thick, creamy, and tastes slightly sweet. It’s also a sustainable choice for eco-conscious consumers as it uses less water than nut milk and works perfectly for beverages such as espresso.
Oat milk is an excellent choice for nutrients such as potassium to promote healthy blood pressure levels and iron to prevent anemia. It has a creamy, rich mouthfeel, making it an ideal choice for warm beverages like coffee and tea.
With a growing number of consumers who avoid dairy and are allergic to nuts, sesame milk is a great choice available in the market. It has a bit of toasted flavor that comes from the seeds. Sesame milk is also used in baked goods, smoothies, and morning cereals.
Nutrient-dense, low-calorie, and heart-healthy, flaxseed milk is also a good source of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. And an affordable vegan, keto, and gluten-free option for health-conscious consumers.
It is clear from the market trends that consumers have a choice, and businesses in the dairy sector can shape the market offerings.
3. Weight-friendly Dairy Products
Among the prominent trends impacting the dairy industry, businesses are increasingly capitalizing on weight-friendly dairy products. Due to the post-pandemic shift in consumer choices, weight loss activities and diet uncovered the weight-friendly dairy product options available.
Cutting out entire food groups isn’t the secret to shedding pounds and feeling great. Instead, the focus should be on increased physical activity and diets like intermittent fasting.
Moreover, dairy products, mainly those high in protein and low in sugar, are considered beneficial for weight management.
Manufacturers are capitalizing on the weight-friendly dairy trend by emphasizing the following benefits:
- Show satiety benefits such as the feeling of fullness to reduce overeating
- Health snacking option for between-meal cravings and added portions
- Promoting them as convenient and practical choices for maintaining a healthy weight
- Emphasize the protein content in dairy products to support weight-friendly diets
4. Healthier Cheese Selections
Consumers seek a high-quality dairy product with natural ingredients and abundant types of cheeses. Despite being at home during the pandemic, many dairy consumers preferred comfort eating and indulgence.
At the same time, others embraced healthier habits such as improved diet and conscious eating.
Cheese has been a staple dairy option for centuries and is consumed in various forms across the world. A wide variety of the latest cheese trends are shaping consumer behavior in the industry.
It is commonly enjoyed on its own, in sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, or as an ingredient in numerous recipes.
As cheese scores high with consumers on taste, healthiness, and convenience, wellness cheeses became a healthier snack option that is aligned with the latest trends in the snacks industry.
Here are some key benefits that entice consumers to shift towards wellness cheese selections:
- Probiotic-infused cheeses promote gut health
- Vitamin D fortification is essential for bone health
- Omega-3 inclusion offers heart-healthy benefits
- Aligns with consumer demand for nutritious yet indulgent choices
- Flavors and varieties cater to different taste buds
- Appeals highly to health-conscious consumers
Premium cheese selections incorporating health-enhancing ingredients like probiotics, vitamin D, and omega-3s create a unique value proposition for consumers.
5. High Protein Dairy Beverages
Another trend in dairy started due to consumers who prefer high-protein dairy beverages. The growth in high-protein dairy ready-to-drink products can be attributed to the fast-paced lifestyle that prompts them to seek on-the-go nutritional options.
It serves the purpose of a healthy snack and a convenient meal that doesn’t require much preparation time.
These protein-enriched dairy beverage options include drinkable yogurts, shakes, and flavored milk. It is also available in diverse and indulgent flavors, aligning with conscious indulgence trends.
Contemporary consumers demand more from their dairy products, and since the pandemic, they have been more conscious about healthier alternatives.
With a greater emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting in shape, high-protein dairy beverages also support athletes and people who engage in strenuous physical activity.
Trends in the Dairy Sector – FAQS
What is the market trend of milk?
The market trend of milk is shifting towards increased demand for specialized and value-added dairy products such as lactose-free milk, high-protein milk, and organic milk, while traditional milk consumption is declining due to the increased use of dairy alternatives.
What is the future of dairy products?
The future of dairy products will likely foresee continued innovation as consumer preferences shift. With more focus on plant-based alternatives, lactose-free options, and value-added products – sustainability, transparency, and ethical practices are also redefining the dairy industry’s future.
In a nutshell, the dairy industry is in a constant state of evolution. As the trends in the dairy sector are transforming and new technologies are pushing the horizons, businesses are focusing more on the new emerging areas that are driving consumption.
Marked by rapid growth, changing consumer preferences, and increased focus on sustainability. Health-focused trends in the beverage industry, such as plant-based and cultured dairy, are gaining more emphasis.
The landscape for dairy products continues to shift, and the sector remains competitive yet facing the challenges of supply chain disruptions.
Businesses in the dairy sector are showcasing a solid commitment to embracing these changes and balancing between satisfying consumers and ensuring animal welfare by substantially reducing environmental impact – while supporting the long-term profitability and viability of the farmers, businesses, and the industry.