Why manufacturers could embrace full-fat dairy again: study
- Dairy fats found in milk, yogurt, and cheese may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study published in the journal Circulation.
- The study proves a correlation rather than a cause and effect, but still is an opportunity for dairy producers who have had to contend with health concerns associated with their full-fat products.
- These findings build on a growing body of research demonstrating the health benefits of consuming dietary fat, including saturated fat, the demonization of which has been an issue for dairy and meat producers for decades.
To deal with the backlash against full-fat dairy, manufacturers used low-fat and skim milk in their products. These contributed to the increasing number of "diet" products introduced on the market in the past several decades.
Today's consumers are more concerned with "healthy" rather than "diet" foods and beverages. Last week, data from a 40-year-old study threw into question commonly held beliefs about animal and vegetable fats, though these findings are of course up for debate.
Manufacturers have responded by shifting ingredients decisions and marketing away from "diet" and refocusing on health, wellness, and "natural" products. Lean Cuisine, for example, launched a marketing campaign earlier this year that muted TV ads when words like "diet" or "weight loss" were mentioned.
Dairy manufacturers may now seek the same types of marketing revamps. Instead of promoting products as "low-fat" and "no-fat," marketers may emphasize the benefits that the dietary fats provide in full-fat products. Reduced fat dairy products aren't going anywhere, because many consumers will still seek out those varieties. But dairy marketers could now change strategies to promote full-fat products as such rather than bury that fact in lieu of claims about calcium or vitamin D.