America has a new love affair, Greek yogurt. Foodies rave about its creaminess and versatility. Companies have fought over a Greek yogurt recipe and who had the rights to it. Companies are now expanding plants to increase production. For a dairy producer, it’s a new avenue to sell milk.
I admit - I am hooked on Greek yogurt. It has been a welcome addition to the dairy case. My only frustration is when I go to the grocery store, more often than not, the section is cleaned out and I leave empty-handed.
This Greek yogurt popularity prompts me to ask, why are there not other new product innovations in the dairy case? Instead of complaining about the nondairy products that are invading the case, why is there not a move to develop the next great dairy product that these other nondairy products do not matter.
As an industry, dairy seems to stay stagnant in product development. Not to take any credit away from the soybean industry, which masterminded countless uses for the bean – from biofuels and bioplastics to countless versions of soy food products. The soy industry has made burgers, developed its version of milk and churned out snack foods. Even Lancaster Farming is printed with a soy-based ink.
It is time for a dairy innovator to come forward to figure out how best to move milk and dairy products onto the dinner table and into other new, creative products.
Milk prices are a formulation of supply and demand. Statistics show a shift from milk to other beverages in the home. There are more products competing for the family’s food dollar. Dairy needs to be cool again. While milk is listed as “nature’s almost perfect product,” perfection is not going to move the dairy industry forward. Innovation will.
-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, Special Sections Editor