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ADPI and the U.S. Dairy Industry

ADPI and the U.S. Dairy Industry
 (Tried, True and Time Tested)


“When the going gets tough . . . the tough get going”


The evolution of the U.S. dairy ingredients and related product industry, and the development of the American Dairy Products Institute have an intrinsic linkage, and a symbiotic relationship since the early 1920’s.  It was during these challenging and uncertain times when our “legacy organizations” were founded by like minded members, seeking to overcome challenges, provide solutions, and leverage opportunities, by collaboratively working together in and on a pre & pro-competitive basis.

ADPI, via its diverse and engaged membership, has evolved and thrived in challenging and uncertain times during its first hundred years and will continue to do so in the next millennium.  ADPI exists of, for, and by members.       

                                                                                                      Blake Anderson, President & CEO – ADPI


The First 100 Years

Since the start of the early dairy ingredients industry via evaporated/condensed milks in the 1860’s our industry has effectively dealt with uncertainty and challenges, and in many ways that reality has led to innovation and the progressive evolution of dairy ingredients and related products.

In the book ThriveStrategies to Turn Uncertainty to Competitive Advantage, author Meredith Elliott Powell developed and explored four important insights about the uncomfortable-yet-inevitable state of Uncertainty in the business world.

  1. Uncertainty is an emotional subject and contributes to frustration, stress, and can breed fear.
  2. Uncertainty is a constant.
  3. Uncertainty has an upside.
  4. Uncertainty demands a phased response.
    • Stabilize the business
    • Grow the business
    • Transform the business

Let’s examine some of the upsides realized over time since the 1860’s as Uncertainties led to Opportunities that impacted consumers and our industry and products. 



The new “canned milk” innovation demand greatly increased as shelf stable nutrition and ease of distribution attributes greatly increased usage for both military and civilian consumers in the US.


World War I


Canned milk demand continued to boom as same exported for troop feeding on foreign soils, as shelf stable nutrition and ease of distribution attributes greatly increased usage for both military, and civilian consumers in globally.


Spanish Flu


Government healthcare programs greatly supported the health and nutritional benefits of dairy products for all humankind facing the health challenges of the time.  Canned & Evaporated Milks were ready for primetime.


Great Depression


Canned milk, and newly emerging “dry milk powders” provided relatively inexpensive source of nutrition to the masses during the height of the great depression and famous “soup kitchens and bread lines.”


World War II


Once again canned milk, and then “dry milk powders” provided an outstanding source of nutrition to military and civilian populations globally as World War II raged across Europe, North Africa and Asia-Pacific.  Dry milks, took the limelight as they were easily and economically transported in a global supply chain.


Energy Crisis


The price/value relationship of the relatively inexpensive nutrition provided by dairy products (in various forms) was again profoundly recognized by consumers, as disposable incomes were impacted by the times.


Global Economy Transformation

(1980’s & 1990’s)

As jobs moved out of the US, the demand for US dairy product export began to emerge as developing nations, having increased disposable incomes, wanted dairy products and complete proteins in lieu of their traditional lower value plant-based diet sources (soy, rice, pea).  The US had a growing dairy product capacity, innovative ingredients, and an interest in developing global trade relationships with Mexico, and the Asia Pacific region.


Dot-Com Bubble Burst


As the US economy rebounded, product innovation in the dairy ingredients and related products segment boomed, as did the US ability to grow its global trade and related agreements to supply beyond borders.


Terrorism of 9/11


“Dairy endured” as a source of wholesome, trusted, and nutritious food and beverage in a chaotic time of uncertainty.


Subprime Mortgage Crisis


Consumers hunkered down, tightened their belts, returned to value-nutritious foods and beverages in efforts to endure the economic impacts.  Once again, dairy products delivered for consumers.


Covid-19 Pandemic

(2020 ->)

Consumers, by necessity, returned to food consumption at home, comfort foods, and to dairy products. They were refocused on health, nutrition and well-being.  Dairy product exports were impacted as were supply chains domestically and internationally, and we are still working our way out of this conundrum.

“The Uncertainty mindset provides some valuable perspective, based on what history has taught us: No crisis is permanent.”  ~ Meredith Elliott Powell

“As a business community and a society, we have endured and survived devastating times with far fewer resources and technology than we have today.  But the key to maintaining a “this too shall pass” attitude in the middle of a crisis is knowing you have strategies in place to help you and your team make it safely to the other side.  Not just surviving, but thriving.” Meredith Elliott Powell

It’s not enough to merely recognize issues and opportunities, without putting forward actions to resolve and leverage the benefits.  Leaders lead, followers follow, but doing nothing never ends well for anybody”  ~ Blake Anderson, ADPI

“Common Sense when dealing with people and politics used to be a pragmatic approach…… seems of late and in many situations that common senses is not so common anymore”  ~ Blake Anderson, ADPI

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