Changing lifestyles and food trends were driving people to ‘unconsciously’ cut back on their dairy intake
Speaking at the Dairy UK dinner seminar, Rebecca Miah, AHDB head of crops and dairy marketing, said research showed many consumers who had reduced dairy purchases did not realise it.
Also, 95 per cent of dairy was consumed on a ‘host product’ such as cereal, coffee or crumpets.
“It leaves us massively affected by our host,” she said.
And if people reduced the amount of the host product they bought, then dairy sales suffered.
Ms Miah suggested the industry needed to make itself relevant with ‘host foods’ which were becoming more popular, such as Indian food – where dairy does not play a ‘massive role’.
Gemma Cooper, commercial business partner at Neilsen, said consumers were looking to eat ‘healthy’ food with organic, free from and healthy snacking key health trends.
She said ‘free from’ was appealing to more shoppers, with households ‘trading up’ into a heavily branded sector and young people particularly actively in looking for dairy-free products.
“The top reason is not because people have an intolerance, but because they like the alternative,” she said.
And she highlighted clever marketing, giving the example of Heck sausages.
“They were always gluten free but moved it to the front of the pack and sales soared.”
She added organic was also growing as people perceived it had health benefits, was better quality and better for the environment.