Covid 19 pandemic has fostered consumers to shift from a ‘convenience mindset’ to a more ‘conscious mindset’. Dairy products are an essential part of most consumers’ everyday diet. The pandemic has led consumers to focus on several new priorities like immunity, hygiene, mental health, and more, leading to several opportunities for the dairy industry to evolve.
Dairy for immunity
The pandemic compelled consumers to be more conscious of their food intake. Innova’s 2020 Consumer Survey claims that 54% of the world’s consumers have spent time educating themselves about immune-boosting ingredients. Lactoferrin, a protein found in milk, plays a vital role as an immune-boosting component. The demand for dairy products like yogurt and cultured milk has risen since the pandemic. This health concern also leads to a shift from the consumption of carbonated soft drinks to dairy-based or milk-based drinks. Ready-to-drink high protein milk-based drinkables can be used as a meal replacement for busy consumers working from home. With the gyms being closed during the pandemic lockdown, weight gain can be of concern; hence, a rightward movement in demand for low-fat milk is addressed.
Dairy for mental health
Mental health and coping have been an important topic ever since the beginning of lockdowns. The phospholipid is a component in milk proven to reduce stress and support cognitive well-being. Driven by the Covid-19 threat, consumers have been committed to making lifestyle and dietary changes to maintain physical and mental well-being. Many consumers have thus started adding dairy intake more consciously to their everyday diet.
Comfort food is treated as a coping mechanism to reduce stress and anxiety. Dairy is a big part of these comfort foods, such as cheese for pizza, pasta or mac, and cheese or milk for hot chocolate, cake, ice cream, or pudding. New opportunities in the development of dairy products with mental health benefits as a foundation are on-trend.
At-home entertainment is another way to maintain peoples’ mental health by keeping their social life alive. During the pandemic lockdowns, people have shown more interest in making their own baristas and cocktails with cheese platters and host small parties at home. This has given the dairy industry another heads-up in increasing sales of products.
With veganism and health-consciousness on-trend, sales of plant-based dairy, which are an alternative to animal-based dairy, continue to grow since the Covid-19 pandemic. Another reason for the growth in sales is the possibility of making plant-based dairy products indistinguishable, in terms of sensory and nutritional properties, from animal-based dairy products. During lockdowns, when restaurants are closed, people tend to spend more time at home cooking and trying alternative healthy recipes. Plant-based dairy uses a process called precision fermentation to replicate ‘real dairy’ without compromising taste or nutritional value. Dairy made using this process, unlike animal-based dairy, does not contribute to cholesterol. Therefore, it is only natural that individuals, during this pandemic, shift to healthier alternatives!