woman drinking milk

Dairy Trends Coming in 2023

The dairy category offers consumers so much—indulgent taste, healthy nutrition, and functional wellness benefits. All these attributes are showing up in the emerging dairy trends for 2023.

Highlights: 

  • Dairy consumption has continued to grow from 538 pounds to 655 pounds. 
  • Dairy trends in 2023 include cultured dairy for immune health, animal-free dairy, dairy for weight management, premium cheeses for wellness, and high-protein dairy beverages. 

US Dairy Consumption on the Rise

Despite a decline in annual per capita consumption of dairy milk over time (from 247 pounds in 1975 to 141 pounds in 2020), overall dairy consumption has been growing (from 538 pounds to 655 pounds).1Yogurt and cheese are driving this increase. Yogurt consumption has grown by nearly 700% to 14 pounds per capita, while cheese nearly doubled to 40 pounds per capita—equivalent to over 400 pounds of milk.2

2023 Dairy Trends

Looking ahead to 2023, we get a glimpse at just how much the dairy category has evolved. As innovation has grown to meet changing consumer demands, dairy continues to be an essential part of the American diet. Here’s a look at the 2023 dairy trends ahead.

1. Cultured Dairy for Immune Health

The COVID pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of immune health, with consumers reaching for cultured dairy products such as spoonable and drinkable yogurts for extra support. Now, in the post-pandemic period, we see many consumers keeping cultured products as a regular part of their diets. Besides the perceived immune system benefits through its influence on the gut microbiome, cultured dairy is a popular choice for consumers concerned about digestive health.

Download our Guide to Global Immunity Trends

dad and baby eating yogurt

2. Animal-Free Dairy

Plant-based dairy products have proliferated in the market in recent years, starting with plant-based milks and expanding to plant-based yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. While plant-based brands continue to innovate with new flavors and ingredients, they have some new competition to watch. Animal-free dairy milk—milk made with whey proteins produced through cellular agriculture—will hit retail shelves soon. This new type of milk allows for claims like lactose-free and cholesterol-free and can be used to make cheese and other dairy products.

3. Dairy for Weight Management

In the wake of the long pandemic lockdown, consumers are now looking at weight loss strategies to tackle those extra pounds gained (the so-called “COVID 19”). Besides boosting physical activity and trying out diets like intermittent fasting, consumers are turning to foods that can help them with weight management. Dairy products—especially high-protein, low-sugar options—are well-positioned to be part of the solution. Manufacturers can get ahead of this trend with messaging about the role of dairy protein in satiety.

4. Premium Cheeses for Wellness

While some consumers turned to comfort eating during the pandemic, others focused on adopting healthier lifestyle habits, including healthier diets. This growing awareness of using nutritious and functional foods to optimize health is creating a key opportunity in wellness cheeses. These premium cheeses are fortified with ingredients such as probiotics, vitamin D, and omega-3s and have strong appeal as a better-for-you snack. 

Download our Guide to Snacking Cheeses

woman looking at cheese

5. High-Protein Dairy Beverages

High-protein dairy RTDs are also expected to do well in 2023. These protein-fortified drinkable yogurts, shakes, and flavored milks can be used as a healthy protein snack or as a meal replacement for consumers returning to their busy, on-the-go lifestyles. They can also be used to support workouts due to their high protein levels. Known for their variety of indulgent flavors, high-protein dairy RTDs also meet the need for conscious indulgence.

Collaborate with Glanbia for Healthy and Delicious Dairy Products

These emerging dairy trends stand as a reminder of how important and relevant dairy products continue to be to consumers. Manufacturers that keep up with consumer trends are sure to succeed in delivering the health, convenience, and taste benefits that today’s consumers are looking for. 

At Glanbia Nutritionals, we offer a variety of solutions to support dairy product development. Our clean label functional dairy proteins like OptiSol®1005 and 1007 offer improved product processing, flavor, and creaminess, while our patent pending UltraHi™ Protein Yogurt Technology helps brands achieve more than 50 grams of protein per serving in yogurt products. We also carry probiotic cheddar cheese to meet consumers’ growing interest in functional foods.

Contact us to learn about our wide range of dairy offerings, as well as custom premix solutions for adding vitamins, minerals, and in-demand functional ingredients to your next dairy product.


References

1-2. USDA Economic Research Service, Dairy products: Per capita consumption, United States (pounds per person), September 2021.

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