Thursday, September 19, 2019
 Staying Engaged in Dairy Ingredients Innovation  

By Phil Tong,  Professor, Dairy Science, Cal Poly State Univ., San Luis Obispo and Member, ADPI Center of Excellence


In the competitive world of consumer food products, dairy and food companies are continually looking for the next innovation that will help drive their growth and profitability.    For dairy ingredients suppliers, improving overall product efficiencies and yields allows them to be more cost competitive in offering dairy ingredients.  Alternatively, suppliers that can offer new or improved dairy ingredients have the potential to offer attractive value-added options for product developers which could command higher prices with greater profitability.    

Either approach likely requires significant product and technology innovation investments.   Additionally consumer insights may be useful to help guide the innovation process to bring focus to the effort.   This can sound like a highly risky proposition when there are no guarantees for greater sales at the price point you target, but the alternative of becoming obsolete with time may not be in your interest either.   For example, if Apple Computer had not continued to innovate over the last thirty years there flagship product would still be a boxy Macintosh with a 9” monochrome display and a 3.5” floppy disc drive, processor speeds less than what is available in your Iphone6, and sold for ~$2,495!

For dairy processors the risk of innovation can be reduced by taking advantage of the existing people, infrastructure and technical information being generated and made available at our universities and professional organizations dedicated to dairy foods.   These groups want to help you if you let it be known what you are looking to accomplish.  By being engaged you will gain new information, technology and perspectives which just can lead you to profit and growth within your own organization.  The ADPI Center of Excellence is one resource that you can access for a wide range of touch points that can help in your innovation process.   Attending technical symposia, annual meetings, webinars, and workshops; serving on University Advisory Committees; and participating in other conferences that showcase dairy technology and innovation can provide key technical perspectives, contacts and/or next steps you can use to help you accelerate innovation and improve likelihood of innovation success.   Below are just a few key upcoming events that you may want to consider attending.

Finally, make sure someone in your organization is “mining” the dairy science and technology journals and other publications.  With today’s journal database search engines it is easy to do a monthly scan of these publications for dairy ingredient relevant information with the input of a few key words like: Milk Protein Concentrate, Skim Milk Powder, Whey Protein Concentrate, or Lactose and get a window on the latest journal publications  describing emerging scientific and technical developments and trends in dairy ingredients research.     

Remember, successful innovation is a ongoing process, and not a single event.   So despite the many challenges and distractions, successful dairy ingredient innovation can happen if we stay committed to what it takes to meet changing consumer needs with new product solutions.   

17th Annual Dairy Ingredients Symposium,  Feb 17-18, 2015, Shell Beach, CA   ( )

ADPI/ABI Annual Conference,  April 26-28, 2015, Chicago, IL  ( )

IFT Annual Meeting, July 11-14, 2015, Chicago, IL ( )

ADSA/ASAS Joint Annual Meeting, July 12-16, 2015, Orlando, FL ( )

International Dairy Show, September 15-18, 2015, Chicago, IL  ( )

ADPI Dairy Ingredient Seminar, September 22 & 23, 2015, Santa Barbara, CA (

IDF 6th International Spray Dried Dairy Ingredients, April 11-13,2016, Dublin, Ireland ( )

Key Journals:
Journal of Dairy Science ( )
Journal of Food Science (
International Dairy Journal ( )
Dairy Science and Technology ( )

ADPI is proud to provide our readers with featured commentary from the ADPI Center of Excellence professionals. ADPI members can access this network of seasoned dairy industry professionals for advice at no cost through the ADPI website. 

Posted on Friday, January 30, 2015 (Archive on Friday, February 06, 2015)
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