October 31, 2017
Speaking at the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit this week in Belfast, Germany, industry leaders from the U.K., China, Japan and Australia underlined the importance of communicating effectively with consumers who are looking for reassurance on the integrity and quality of dairy foods at a time when anti-dairy activism is on the rise.
Paul Vernon, chief executive of Gambia Cheese and chairman of Dairy UK, the U.K.'s industry trade association, said, "The world and the dairy sector has changed massively over the past 30 years, and the way we are communicating with consumers has changed, too. Dairy is a superfood, and we need to ensure that message is heard loud and clear by consumers who are under a constant barrage of misleading and ill-informed messages about dairy."
Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director of Arla UK, said at a time when there is a global need for more nutritious food, dairy should be a critical part of the solution. However, he said the myths and fear-mongering about dairy does put the industry in a potential crisis. The U.K. and Europe could be facing an existential threat from anti-dairy campaigning, he added.
"We have a bright future, we have the ammunition and we need to play to our strengths,” Pietrangeli said. “Changing the visual image of milk and focusing on young women is essential in establishing the message that one of the greatest sources of foods is still relevant and part of modern-day life. It's time to get behind the goodness and time to debunk the anti-dairy myths and unsubstantiated claims."
Dr. Jaap Evers, IDF leader global standards, explained that dairy protein is a natural, high-quality protein and emphasized that it is imperative that consumers understand dairy is an integral part of a sustainable diet.
"There is a wealth of scientific research that should strengthen dairy's role as an integral element of healthy consumers' diets,” he said, adding that IDF will soon undertake a new research project on protein.
Mary Anne Burkman, an internationally renowned nutrition expert, said the validity of science underpinning the nutritional value of dairy has never been more comprehensive and compelling. “The challenge is to get consumers and health authorities to recognize this," she said.
According to Zheng Jianqiu, executive president of Yili Dairy, China, the Chinese dairy industry is working very hard to develop solidarity across the supply chain and with consumers. “Our vision is to be the most trusted supplier of nutritious dairy foods. It is important that dairy's voice is heard by the whole of society," he said.
Dr. Judith Bryans, president of the International Dairy Federation, said the message from across the global sector is quite clear: The industry must be committed to highlighting the nutritional benefits of dairy and confronting the many myths that are peddled by the anti-dairy lobby.
“It is a major challenge but one that dairy can rise to," she added.
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