Improving packaging and creating more ‘grab and go’ products is key to tapping into the athletics market for dairy.
Olympic pentathlete Natalya Coyle and olympic hockey player Jonny Bell said they were both ‘big guzzlers’ of dairy products, but simple improvements to packaging could encourage higher consumption.
Ms Coyle said: “It means easy closable lids and things which do not go off so quickly. Simple packaging can make a massive difference.”
She was enthusiastic about dairy as it was easy to consume products to help get the nutrients and calories she needed in the form of shakes and adding cheese on top of meals, and was easy to access wherever she was competing.
She said: “It is one of the things I know I can get when I go abroad and it is the same. They might put different things with it, but it is still from a cow.”
Nutritionist Dr Sharon Madigan said convenience was a big opportunity to help athletes utilise dairy for rehydration and get the protein and calcium they need.
She said: “We have organised ‘grab and go’ pots. Some of the players cannot stay for breakfast, but can take a couple of pots.”
Mr Bell added he believed the industry needed to target secondary school children.
He said: “We are drinking milk from when we are born, attending primary school and drinking it at break times. Then at secondary school it stops and becomes fizzy drinks instead.”