Where’s the demand?
Sure, in the US, milk consumption dropped by 40% between 1975 and 2019. And in the UK, not only has the number of dairy cows declined, but some dairy farmers are also hanging their boots up and retiring from the profession altogether. But, elsewhere, it’s a different story.
Asia now accounts for nearly 40% of global dairy consumption, with China’s milk production capacity forecast to triple by 2030. India alone accounts for more than a fifth of global milk production, and more than a quarter of Brazilian farms are involved in the dairy trade. With a growing middle class in Asia and Latin America, it’s clear that the demand for dairy is here to stay.
The (dairy) empire fights back
Yet in those places where domestic dairy industries are struggling, milk businesses are fighting back. They’re adjusting their branding and positioning strategies. They’re shifting their marketing away from being an unbranded, staple good. And by delivering directly to consumers, rather than through large supermarkets and retailers, they’re deepening their connection (and messaging) with customers.
Here are some small dairy businesses making waves...
New operations. The mainstream dairy industry doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation for how it treats its cows. Brands like UK-based The Estate are changing that by letting their cows roam free and farming regeneratively. Zeal, a new, single-farm creamery in Missouri, prides itself on traceability that many mainstream milk products don’t offer.
Farm-first branding. Consumers are after origin stories and transparent provenance. Check out New York's Gopal Farm, which grows heirloom Indian vegetables and produces small-scale dairy products in line with an environmental conservation plan. Bannister Downs Dairy in Western Australia even has a public-facing visitor centre.
High tech. Remilk, in Israel, uses a process called microbial fermentation to reproduce real milk proteins, just without the cows. Tech startups are innovating in the industry, too: Ida and Cainthus use sensor technology to provide dairy farmers with analytics on herd health and animal behavior across the globe.
An unpredictable world
Whether you're designing a ready-to-wear collection or budgeting for advertising in a new market, trend forecasting can deliver essential insights for brands planning for the future. But one small change to a few variables can quickly throw these valued predictions out of whack – let alone when that change is a global pandemic.
This article was first published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more insights, analysis and inspiration, sign up here.