Making milk more sustainable - from concept to consumption

When it comes to delicious, nutritious - and natural - foods, nothing comes to mind like milk. Full of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and protein, it’s both a food and a beverage. And of course, for humans (indeed all mammals) it’s the first sustenance to pass our lips after being born.  

Milk is good for us. But it also has the potential to be even better for us with the right science-based solutions and expertise. Furthermore, milk needs to be good for both the planet and the farmers and dairies that produce it. In fact, milk is an essential component of our global food system – which of course is under greater strain than ever with the world’s population set to hit 10 billion by 2050, including many millions of new mouths hungry for protein.

To put that into perspective, every single dairy cow generates three tons of Co2 equivalent each per year; while the methane naturally produced by cows is the major source of GHG emissions in agriculture. The question is, what can we do as industry to balance and tackle all these interconnected challenges? Here at DSM our purpose is to create brighter lives for all – and when it comes to food and beverages, we want all the players in the dairy food system to enjoy it all: from concept to consumption. 

Sustainability starts at the source

There are various ways to help create a truly sustainable food system, but we believe that one of the most effective is to start at the source. In the case of milk production, that means the cow – and more specifically reducing the GHG emissions they produce that contribute to global warming and climate change.

To help tackle this challenge, the bright minds at DSM have developed an enzyme-based feed additive called Bovaer® that consistently reduces enteric methane emissions from dairy cows by 30%. This breakthrough innovation works by suppressing the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s rumen. It’s good for the planet but also for dairy farmers; enabling them to reduce their environmental footprint and meet sustainability targets. 

Healthier planet, healthier people

At DSM we have made firm food system commitments to enable double-digit livestock emission reductions by 2030. However, improving the dairy food system is not just about sustaining livelihoods and planet – it’s also about sustaining and nurturing the health of people through the milk they drink.

Around 61% of consumers globally[1]  are more conscious of leading healthier lifestyles, post pandemic and many want to know more about the influence of food on their health and are now seeking solutions enriched with additional vitamins and minerals. For example, 46% of worldwide consumers[1]  have turned to food to boost their immune health. 

That’s why at DSM Food & Beverage, our specialists work with dairy manufacturers every day to make their products even more nutritious by fortifying them with a broad portfolio of vitamins, minerals and probiotics – for example, vitamins A, D and E which support immunity and wellbeing.

Taste and texture: still king

And of course, we should never forget that while most of us begin our lives consuming milk primarily for nutrition purposes, many millions of people continue to enjoy milk well into adulthood because they love the flavor and sensory experience.

This is another area of expertise that we provide to the dairy industry: for example, with our Maxilact® lactase enzyme which provides a natural sweet taste and smooth mouthfeel while reducing sugar content by up to 20% in milk. Or we can even modulate natural taste in applications like sports protein drinks and meal replacement shakes with our ModuMax® solution - which helps create preferred taste profiles in dairy products with high-intensity sweetener or lower fat, while improving mouthfeel. Nor forgetting, our MaxiPro® - enzymes which enable increased protein functionality, balancing taste and texture.

In fact, our texture improvement solutions are also complemented by a unique and extensive portfolio of cultures and hydrocolloids (like pectin and biogums) that support our customers in improving and creating variation in mouthfeel and texture of dairy products like yogurts – not just locally but globally.

At DSM we have global reach and understanding of market trends, dairy technology and regulations across the world, which enables us to help our customers expand – by keeping on top of rapidly evolving trends, creating new ideas and products

Granted, balancing the needs for taste, texture and health of consumers, planet and livelihoods isn’t an easy job. But from concept to consumption, we’re striving harder than ever to ensure that everyone in the dairy food system can enjoy it all. 


  1. FMCG-Gurus-Identifying-Key-Trends-in-the-USA/Europe-Plant-Based-Dairy-Market-2021

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Published on
01 July 2022

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