Flavored milk to grow at double the rate of white milk

by Staff
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LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND — Global consumption of flavored milk is expected to grow at double the rate of white milk between 2012 and 2015, according to Tetra Pak.

Flavored milk is the second most widely consumed liquid dairy product after white milk, and consumption is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 4.1% between 2012 and 2015, increasing from 17 billion liters to 19.2 billion liters.

Tetra Pak said developing countries are especially driving the demand with seven of the world’s top 10 flavored milk markets being developing countries. Overall, consumption is being driven by the desire for nutritious and healthy food, the “on-the-go” convenience of some of the products, consumer desire to try new beverages and consumer desire for “indulgent” foods and beverages.

“With white milk increasingly commoditized, flavored milk offers dairies the opportunity to provide value not only to consumers but to their bottom line,” said Dennis Jonsson, president and chief executive officer of Tetra Pak Group. “With the right flavors, portion sizing and formulations, flavored milk can meet a huge range of health, nutritional and lifestyle needs.”

Flavored milk consumption is still well below that of other beverages, but the growth rate for flavored milk consumption is expected to be more than triple that of carbonated soft beverages from 2012 to 2015.

In the United States, dairy processors are trying to alter regulations to increase consumption of flavored milks.

In a petition submitted four years ago, the International Dairy Foods Association (I.D.F.A.) and the National Milk Producers Federation asked the Food and Drug Administration to update its standard of identity for milk to include approved zero-calorie sweeteners as an option in sweetened dairy products. Current regulations require products containing such ingredients to be labeled as “reduced calorie” or “no added sugar,” but dairy manufacturers want the packaging to simply say “chocolate milk.” If non-nutritive sweeteners are added to the list of standard ingredients for flavored milk, the products wouldn’t require the front-label description that dairy manufacturers have deemed unattractive to some consumers, especially school children.

But confusion about the petition has generated a great deal of negative feedback from consumers and the media. This is likely due to the fact many consumers do not understand the concept of a food standard. The industry is not trying to sneak ingredients into flavored milk, in particular the artificial sweetener aspartame, as was alluded to by many of the comments made to the F.D.A. All ingredients would still be listed on the label.
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