The dairy market is changing and industry players need to keep up. Consumers now want to see more natural, better-for-you, sustainable dairy products with shorter ingredient lists and greater transparency in product labeling. On the other hand, food waste is becoming more of a concern for consumers and food manufacturers. Spoilage is one of the main causes of food waste. With the rise in busy modern lifestyles, there is also growing demand for convenient options that can be consumed on-the-go without having to be refrigerated to stay fresh. Protective cultures are key in helping dairy manufacturers add to their own bottom line by avoiding spoilage throughout shelf life, extending shelf life, while meeting consumer needs for more natural and clean label products.
With growing pressure for natural dairy foods, the ‘clean label’ trend has been gaining traction in the dairy industry. Historically, dairy producers used artificial additives and preservatives, often chemical in nature, to help extend product shelf life and protect fresh dairy products from contamination. However, the use of these ingredients has led to intense scrutiny from millennials and families with children, out of concern for the risks posed by artificial ingredients.
Health-conscious consumers also seek greater understanding of the ingredients used in dairy products through more transparent product labeling. Thus, clean label products – those containing natural, simple and familiar ingredients - are looked on with increasing favor. In fact, research has shown that consumers are prepared to pay more for clean label products, with 1 in 2 people prepared to pay at least 10% more for yogurt that is free from artificial preservatives.
With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, sustainability and the level of dairy food waste globally continue to influence the dairy industry’s path, and it is vital that dairy producers act with sustainability in mind. Food waste can occur at any point in the food chain, but levels are highest at consumption stage. In fact, reports indicate that 10-20% of the production of milk and dairy products in developed countries is lost or wasted, and almost half of this waste occurs post-purchase when products reach consumers’ fridges, with shelf life restrictions or microbial spoilage cited as the main reasons. Research also confirms that product shelf life remains a key purchasing condition for consumers. Therefore, manufacturers must consider the open shelf life of products to help support a more sustainable supply chain and minimize their contribution to the food waste burden.
Challenging, new consumer trends help drive innovation in the dairy industry. New developments can enable businesses to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive landscape, and explore previously inaccessible areas of dairy product innovation. Enhancing food protection can help to ease retailer pressure on shelf life, enable wider product distribution and create more opportunities for innovation. It may facilitate, for example, dairy goods that can be consumed on-the-go without the need for continuous refrigeration, or yogurts with added indulgence.
DSM features the Delvo®Guard range of clean label protective dairy cultures. They contribute to the protection of yogurt against yeast and mold without compromising on food safety or quality. DSM’s protective cultures are an addition to DSM’s range of biopreservatives; solutions that naturally extend shelf life and contribute to a more sustainable world, and that rise to the challenge of evolving consumer trends and preferences.
20 November 2019