Dairy Leaders Panel from left: Piercristiano Brazzale, IDF President, Peder Tuborgh, Philippe Palazzi and Dr. R. S. Sodhi, Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation
This year‘s IDF Global Dairy Conference offered again a Dairy Leaders Panel on 13 October. The speakers list was impressive insofar as IDF managed to get a Lactalis executive who was willing to TALK for the first time. IDM summarises the forum that focused on sustainability and plant-based alternatives.
Philippe Palazzi, CEO Lactalis, said that acceleration is necessary for all climate committments made by the dairy industry. Marketing, transfer to net zero and promotion must change but it is important at the same time to defend dairy. Palazzi pointed out to 2030 when the world population will have grown by another 10% to 8.5bn resulting in an increase of dairy demand by 22%. Dairy will always have an important role in feeding the world, Palazzi said.
Jeffrey Minfang Lu, CEO Technology, Mengniu Dairy, highlighted the Chinese way: between January and June this year, dairy sales increased by 13.2% while sales margins were up by 48%. Demand is now growing faster than in pre-Corona times, Lu said. Dairy has received a priority status in the current 5 year ecomnomic plan and the middle class in China counts now 400m people. Lu’s company aims at building a new Mengniu until 2025 that will be first choice for consumers. This will be achieved, he said, by committing to sustainability, responsibility and technology. Mengniu will introduce tailored nutrition and digital intelligence to increase efficiency, optimise cost and offer better quality products. Mengniu also plans to use synthetic biology for dairy foods with better nutritional quality at a lower cost.
Rick Smith, President / CEO, Dairy Farmers of America, added that dairy farms are the key to arrive at net zero.
Plant-based vs. dairy
Disussing about plant-based dairy alternatives, Peder Tuborgh, CEO Arla Foods, said that is not about stealing market share from one another. The dary industry should embrace plant-based as these products are here to stay and there will be room enough for these two categories. Plant-based, he said, goes hand in hand with dairy and the industry should innovate in both fields. Palazzi added that the dairy industry should by no ways oppose but rather develop dairy further. Smith said that the dairy industry has to give consumers what they ask for but the dairy industry should communicate and educate on the benefits of milk.
Nutri-Score is all wrong
Palazzi criticised the current nutrition labelling of foods. Scoring systems like the Nutri-Score hide the true values of foods and are generally too theoretical. Butter, for example, would fetch a D or E grade in Nutri-Score while soft drinks receive B or C. In daily life, consumers may eat 10 grams of butter per meal while they drink a 330 ml can of soft drink ending up in a higher calory intake. Palazzi opts for changing concepts like to Nutri-Score to real portions.