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Industry Experts Pose Solutions to Fluid Milk Crisis

November 1, 2012
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Six proposals with individual fluid milk processors will help accelerate product innovation, extend milk’s availability in new channels, and secure additional resources to market fluid milk.

Source: Dairy Management Inc. news release

ORLANDO, Fla. – A panel of industry leaders agreed that it is time for the entire industry to reevaluate and reinvent how it invests in fluid milk.


Tom Gallagher, DMI's CEO, will speak at Dairy Today's 2012 Elite Producer Business Conference Nov. 6 in Las Vegas. Click here to learn more.


Their assessment and solutions were delivered during the UDIA/NDB/NMPF annual meeting here.

Barbara O’Brien, president of the checkoff-funded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, said fluid milk “is now at a crossroads” following four decades of declining sales.

“There are solutions,” O’Brien said. “But we need the will and commitment (of the industry) to carry them out.”

In September, the board of directors of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, approved six proposals with individual fluid milk processors to accelerate product innovation, extend milk’s availability in new channels, and secure additional resources to market fluid milk.

The total checkoff investment is $9 million to date; the combined investment by processors is $80 million.

Mike McCloskey, CEO of Select Milk Producers, pointed to several reasons for declining sales, including a lack of innovation throughout the value chain, competition from other beverages and antiquated plants that result in distribution and packaging challenges.

“We can do more things to affect the desirability of milk,” McCloskey said.

Jim Wegner, President and CEO of Darigold, Inc., said an aging U.S. population also is a factor, adding that 57 million people are 30 or older.

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