Arla Foods UK managing director Tomas Pietrangeli has called on the industry to change its image to get young people interested in dairy.
Dairy needs to change its image to make itself relevant to young consumers confused by mixed messages.
According to Tomas Pietrangeli, Arla Foods UK managing director, 46 per cent of 14- to 24-year-olds believed they had an adverse reaction to dairy.
He said: “Young adult consumers are confused. They are taken in by myth and scare stories.
French consumers are facing a ‘butter shortage’ as producers look to sell butter elsewhere.
Gerard Calbrix, association of French dairy processors, told delegates there had been a huge shortage of butter on French supermarket shelves over recent weeks as butter prices had soared.
He said there had been little correlation in France between commodity prices and prices paid by retailers, which had led to suppliers looking elsewhere for markets for their butter where they could take advantage of high prices.
Mr Calbrix added this meant futures contracts had a limited appeal to processors, as it was not what prices were based on.
Global dairy is committed to meeting its nutritional and environmental targets and playing a vital role in feeding the world.
Dr Judith Bryans, president of the International Dairy Federation, said 20 dairy producing countries, including the UK, were signed up to the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam, which makes a commitment to meeting the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.
She said dairy had a strong story to tell: “No sector is perfect and there is always room for improvement, but we have a vision, we have our goals and we will spare no effort in achieving them.”
“As an industry, we are hampered by the traditional image.
"Changing the visual image of milk and focusing on young women is essential in establishing the message that one of the greatest sources of foods is still relevant and part of modern-day life.”
He said young women were particularly influenced by emotive campaigns and were concerned dairy products contained high levels of fats and hormones.
He highlighted Arla’s recent marketing campaigns which aimed to show ‘food inspiration’ with dairy products.
He added: “We have stepped up as an industry, but we need to do more.
“We have a great challenge ahead of us, but we have a great industry. Has milk had its day? No, it definitely has not.”
Barry Irvin, executive chairman of Bega Cheese Australia, said transparency across the supply chain was very important, as simply telling people something was good for them would not have any effect.
He added dairies needed to build iconic brands consumers trusted implicitly and this was why Bema Cheese had taken over iconic Australian brand Vegemite, from which it was looking to learn lessons to support its other brands.
Paul Vernon, chief executive of Glanbia Cheese, agreed traditional advertising techniques ‘would not cut it’.
But he was positive about the future, saying consumers needed to understand dairy was ‘one of the only foods which could deliver nutrition and still be indulgent’.
He added innovation in the sector could be simple, highlighting the rise in popularity of stuffed crust pizzas, which has helped increase cheese consumption and reduce food waste.
Dairy farmers need to know ‘urgently’ what the Government plans look like for the future of Brexit so they can prepare for the future.
Arla UK managing director Tomas Pietrangeli called for the Government to publish a new agricultural policy next year.
He said: “Any delays will be detrimental to our industry due to long-term planning cycles.”
He also called for any transitional deal to last until the end of Common Agricultural Policy in 2022 and urged the Government not to disregard the dairy industry, and speak directly with farmers to understand what they needed.