Despite the rapid emergence of plant-based dairy alternatives, which are promoted as healthier and more ethical options compared to dairy-based milk, the overall consumption of dairy products has increased. This is evident comparing the proportion of those consumers limiting or avoiding dairy products in their diet having fallen from about 27% to below 20% between 2013 and 2016. By contrast, the proportion trying to consume it "as much as possible" has increased over the same period. The reasons for the growth in dairy consumption can be attributed to consumers' attitudes towards their diet: dairy consumers are more concerned about the impact of their diet on their health and appearance, compared to the global average; respectively 62% versus 56% approximately. This positive correlation between dairy consumption and health concerns is helping dairy consumption, and creates opportunities for products that better promote healthy credentials.
Asia-Pacific is the region where consumers are most likely to opt for dairy products when snacking. More than one quarter of the consumers in the area snack on dairy products, compared to just around 22% when it comes to the global average. The findings suggest opportunities to innovate and successfully promote dairy products targeting snack occasions within the region. To position dairy as a snack, manufacturers should adjust formulation to meet the needs of the occasion.Consumers in Latin America are most likely to opt for dairy products when having breakfast (around 70%), making the region a key target for dairy innovation targeting this occasion, such as drinkable yogurts or dairy-based smoothies for consuming on-the-go. Meanwhile, household with three or more people tend to opt for milk-based items more often than single householders.
The report "Top Trends in Dairy 2018", has identified five key trends within dairy sector:
- The fourth meal: The emergence of the "fourth meal" is creating opportunities for dairy brands to target consumers with fulfilling and healthy mini-meals and snacks.
- Think positive: Manufacturers can exploit positive perceptions of dairy- and lactose-free options with more sophisticated products that offer benefits from both a functional and convenience perspective.
- Beyond protein: Despite the high-protein trend, consumers are demanding more nutritionally balanced dairy products with the inclusion of other necessary nutrients, such as fiber.
- Stay local: Ingredient-attentive consumers are turning towards locally sourced and produced dairy products, which are perceived to be healthier, more nutritious, and more authentic.
- Flavor swaps: Dairy manufacturers can capitalize on the experimental attitude of dairy consumers by exploring an unconventional combination of sweet and savory flavors.
- Enhance the nutritional profile of dairy products by adding health-enhancing ingredients.
- Launch dairy products targeting specific consumption occasions to drive consumption.
- Experiment with exotic and unusual ingredients to introduce a novel twist in the dairy segment.
- Introduce plant-based alternatives in more sophisticated formulations and packaging to target the high proportion of lactose-intolerant consumers.
- Identify the reasons underpinning consumers' orientation towards specific dairy products.
- Gain insight into the key consumer trends that are most likely to be a driver for innovation.
- Put innovative products into context by connecting them to specific consumer trends and preferences.