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These Experts Chat About The Dairy Industry

14 May 2021 by Food&HotelAsia


We sit down with FHA Match: Dairy content session speakers Sonalie Figueiras, Founder & Editor-in-Chief (Green Queen Media), Katrin Friedrichs, Senior Dairy Market Analyst, IFCN Dairy Research Center, Akhil Eashwar Aiyar, Market Analyst, Insights & Innovation Innova Market Insights and Tim Hill, Key Accounts Director, GlobalData to learn more about what’s in store for dairy in 2021.

What are the top 3 emerging trends in Dairy in Asia?

SF: Vegan ice cream, plant-based cheese and precisiona fermentation dairy.

KF: When we take a look at our data we can dig out the following trends:

-Dairy itself: Although people are talking about plant based alternatives especially in the EU , US etc., what we observe is that people show a huge willingness to consume dairy and consequently animal protein. On top of this, the demand for national produced milk and local brands, especially for liquid milk, is increasing in Asia.

-Value-added products: Although still a huge share of Asian population depends on an economical way of consuming dairy e.g. via powders, we see a huge trend for value added products like cheese.

-Promotion of dairy as healthy and high nutritional product. Especially in pandemic times people were trying to live a more healthy lifestyle and the increased demand for dairy was noticeable

AA: The top 3 emerging trends for Dairy in Asia would have to be: Transparency & Traceability, which includes elements of ingredient provenance and sustainability and Plant-Forward, Moving beyond traditional soy-based products and welcoming innovation from other growing plant-bases such as almond and oat.

TH: Firstly it is the overall growth of the sector particularly when compared with other parts of the world. This is driven by the increasing numbers of middle class citizens – even in these difficult times. The second trend is the concern for health and safety in dairy products – which seems more pronounced amongst consumers in Asia compared with ROW. This is driving consumers to go for high end products from trusted brands. Thirdly – and this is related to the second trend – is the global trend for plant-based alternatives. Soy-based products are already extremely popular in most countries in Asia. We can expect to see more plant-based alternatives to dairy which will impact the overall market considerably.

Demand for plant-based alternative have sky-rocketed – what can the (traditional) dairy industry do to stay competitive and relevant?

SF: Invest in alt dairy companies and technology.

KF: Definitely a better promotion, as dairy is blamed as climate-killer. Our global dairy farmers and the dairy industry provide high quality and sustainable products and is able to feed the world with necessary protein. Dairy stakeholders should work together to create a better imagine of dairy. Actually so far plant-based alternatives have still a low share on total sales and production volumes compared to dairy.

AA: The current NPD landscape for plant protein products is diverse – with new formats, flavors and textures. The advantages of dairy proteins, when it comes to palatability and nutrition, must be leveraged to explore new opportunities beyond the traditional categories. Furthermore, cost also remains a key factor.

TH: The industry needs to make sure that its finished products, supply chain and operations are of the highest standards to reassure consumers who are concerned about contaminations.

What steps are the dairy industry taking to satisfy consumer demand for sustainable products?

SF: They are biding time by improving packaging and cleaning up ingredient labels to make them ‘cleaner’, instead of focusing on the future: animal free dairy and vegan dairy.

KF: The dairy industry is aware of the consumers needs and demands – and is already taking great steps forward. Exactly this topic we will touch at the IFCN Dairy Conference this year when we are discussing “Carbon neutral dairy farming in 2050 – will this be possible?” Everybody is welcome to register.

AA: I think a lot of the focus is by adopting more sustainable rearing practices, communicating animal welfare, reducing use of antibiotics, etc. Furthermore, there is also a shift towards more sustainable packaging solutions to create a synergy between the product and the packaging.

TH: Some of the leading global brands are investing in reducing and ultimately eliminating the plastic components of their packaging. As with other consumer products though this is a slow process.

What do you think are some unexplored opportunities for dairy in Asia vs western countries?

SF: I think in Asia we need more homegrown brands for alternative chocolate, cream and yogurt.

KF: This could be related to farm cost monitoring and cost competitiveness. Another point could be increased transparency to start preparing for future demands of the society and to monitor the environmental dimension.

AA: If we also consider dairy alternatives, Plant-based cheeses remain a relatively niche category, with potential for growth.

TH: The main opportunity for Asia is the still considerable growth potential of a number of markets – we have identified Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as our priorities in the region – and all for different combinations of dairy products. Hence we also feel there are opportunities for developing new dairy tastes and consumer experiences to cater to the different markets.

What do you look forward to at FHA Match: Dairy?

SF: I am looking forward to a conversation about a post-animal dairy economy which can help avert the consequences of the ongoing climate crisis.

KF: The interaction and exchange with the presenters and participants. Its always good to learn from each other and to discuss

AA: I’m excited to be a speaker at this virtual event and am looking forward to viewing other presentations on the topic to learn more about the current developments in the dairy segment.

TH: FHA Match: Meat was a fantastic way of meeting lots of new people in the industry. We’re having a number of conversations with representatives of companies that we didn’t know before the event that are turning into good potential business partners. That is clearly down to the professionalim of the FHA team putting together this great series of events in very difficult circumstances and identifying the right issues to drive the discussions. So we have been delighted with the ability of the platform and the FHA team to introduce us to the wider market. We’re hoping for the same with FHA Match: Dairy and wish all participants as well as the organising team all the very best success.

Register as a visitor now for FHA Match: Dairy, 19-20 May, featuring content sessions led by the dairy industry’s experts and gain insights, smart strategies and learn how to copy with the challenges in 2021. You’ll also be able to source from leading dairy suppliers from around the world. Our AI-powered platform will help you make meaningful connections ahead of time and set your agenda so that during the event you can focus on getting involved during our interactive workshops on resiliency, educative seminars, follow showcases or join private 1-on-1 video calls.