Dairy farmer and marketing consultant, Andy Venables, highlighted his frustration at the lack of clarity when it comes to the branding of milk.
Mr Venables, who is involved in his family’s dairy farm in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and also runs a marketing consultancy, Hillsgreen Marketing, said there were lessons to be learnt from movements such as Veganuary.
“Around 1.16 per cent of the population is vegan, and yet they are getting all the press. This is because they are passionate about the cause, they are driven to achieve change; they have strong values and a passionate sense of purpose. They also have absolute clarity on the message they are putting out, and they work together with a clear strategy.
“Several brands, such as Greggs and Marks and Spencer, jumped on the bandwagon with this, and are riding on the back of a trend. However it is a growing trend, and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to counter-act it.”
Mr Venables added he was frustrated when he saw milk in cheap plastic containers poorly presented on metal shelves in supermarkets.
“It is such a nutritious product, especially when compared to water; yet water is often sold at around 62ppl more than milk. We are still not shouting about how nutritious milk is.”
He said the rise of milk alternatives was something that should not be ignored, and he highlighted the successful use of branding for these products, which all command a premium in the market place.
Mr Venables said certain brands within dairy were starting to get more apparent, and he said there was still opportunity to do more by working together as an industry.
“On a farmer level we are seeing a number of ‘milk bots’ around the country, as a way farmers can market their milk themselves.
“And things are changing as individual farmers are increasingly using social media to market their stock and raise awareness of what they are producing, but there is still more we can be doing.
“We should not waste time and energy challenging vegan groups, and instead should focus on education and changing the conversation about the industry. We need to promote what we are doing, and why we are doing it.
“We need to decide what the strategy is, who we are promoting our product to, and what that message is."