- Premium, small-batch milk could lead to growth potential for dairy manufacturers as the popularity of micro-dairies and locally produced foods and beverages increases.
- Milk has been a local product already, as most U.S. milk travels less than 100 miles from farm to bottling plant, according to Dairy Management Incorporated.
- Annual fluid milk consumption has fallen over the past several decades, but grass-fed cow's milk has seen double-digit growth in recent years and is expected to increase this year, Julie Blubaugh, manager of local products for Whole Foods' Midwest division, told The Wall Street Journal.
Dairy Management told The Wall Street Journal the dairy industry as a whole is missing opportunities by being late to adapt their marketing around the consumer trends of increased transparency and locally-produced foods and beverages.
Manufacturers could put more spotlight on the farms and farmers themselves, which lends authenticity to the product in the eyes of today's consumer.
For major dairy manufacturers, ranging from Dean Foods to WhiteWave Foods, providing more background on production and farmers is one place to start. Driving authenticity is key for larger manufacturers to win over skeptical consumers.
However, small batches may not be ruled out either, as both Dean and WhiteWave have looked to premium — and more profitable — dairy products as areas for growth.