Dairy Management is an affiliate of the group behind the effort,
the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which works with farmers,
cooperatives, processors and retailers who represent about 80% of
the volume of U.S. dairy production.
The campaign comes as the industry faces a number of challenges.
More people are switching to non-dairy alternatives including
almond milk. Even those who stick with dairy are eating less cereal
for breakfast, cutting lots of potential consumption out of what
used to be a tried and true daily ritual. Various studies suggest
milk is not as good for people as years of industry research and
Engelmann said the information that's out there can be confusing
or might not tell a full story, and asks, "who better to really
answer the questions of the consumer than the dairy industry and
the leaders of the dairy industry?"
Dairy industry sales rose about 3% in the United States last
year. But certain categories are not faring well, particularly
milk, where per capita consumption declined annually from
1995-2015, according to data from the USDA's Economic Research
Service. Still, there are some brights spots: over the same period,
per capita yogurt consumption more than doubled.
Dairy products: Per capita
consumption, United States (in pounds per person)
1/ U.S. Census Bureau estimates of resident
population plus armed forces overseas were used for all products
except fluid milk. For fluid milk products, resident population
estimates, not including armed forces overseas, were used.
milk includes the product weight
of beverage milks: whole, reduced fat, low fat, skim, flavored,
buttermilk and miscellaneous.
Sources: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA Farm
Service Agency, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA
Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau
of the Census, California Department of Food and Agriculture, USDA
Economic Research Service calculations.
Still, while Engelmann wants to focus on celebrating dairy
products, clearly she's aware of the competition. Speaking of milk,
for example, she noted "our competitive set is adding to their
products what naturally occurs in dairy," such as calcium, protein
and vitamin D. "We want to really just tell our story and then
ultimately it is the consumer's choice."
And many consumers are choosing something else. Through
February, the volume of fluid milk sold according to USDA data fell
3.4% from a year ago, or just 1.8% when adjusting for last year's
Leap Day, milk giant Dean Foods Co. said last week. Even Dean Foods
is diversifying to respond to the non-dairy trend. In early May, it
announced a minority stake in and distribution deal with Good Karma
Foods, which makes flaxseed-based alternatives to milk and