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Whey bioplastics, renewable packaging take hold in Europe

October 31, 2014

By Emily King

MADISON, Wis. — Renewable packaging is swiftly gaining popularity in Europe due to governmental mandates, and packaging giant Tetra Pak has responded by manufacturing plant-based renewable products. Meanwhile, Clear Lam Packaging Inc. and Lactalis American Group Inc. have strived for similar goals in the United States with less success.

The worldwide bioplastics market will reach a market value of $3.94 billion in 2014, making the global bioplastics market a small but significant sub-sector of the plastics industry, according to an independent report, “Prospects for Biobased/Non-Biodegradable Packaging, Consumer Electronics/Products, Catering, Agriculture & Pharmaceuticals.”

This month, Tetra Pak announced the launch of what it calls the industry’s very first carton made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials. It is named the Tetra Rex carton and is manufactured using bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films and a bio-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cap.

Tetra Pak’s HDPE cap — TwistCap OSO 34 — was released in March. The cap, along with the company’s bio-based cartons, have been used by dairy companies such as Finnish-based Valio.
The cap was made so customers using the standard TwistCap OSO 34 are able to transfer to the bio-based version without the need for any additional investment or modification to existing filling machines, Tetra Pak says.

“The advantage of working with bio-based polyethylene (PE) is that it is identical to conventional PE once ready for use as a packaging material in our packaging,” says Elisabeth Comere, director of environment and government affairs, Tetra Pak. “The difference is that the raw material — ethylene — is derived from sugar cane rather than conventional fossil sources. This means that it has all the functional benefits of conventional PE and can be recycled in the same recycling streams — yet the source material is renewable.”

The company’s Tetra Rex package, developed in partnership with Braskem, a biopolymer producer headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, will be commercially available in Europe in early 2015. Expansion to other regions outside Europe will be prioritized based on demand, Comere says.

“From a technical standpoint, it was a fairly straightforward swap,” Comere says. “The main challenges were ensuring that the bio-based PE was up to our high quality standards and that it was available in the volumes required.”

This summer Tetra Pak launched a campaign to raise industry awareness of the packaging life cycle and the sourcing of renewable materials. The campaign — Moving to the Front — outlines the benefits for businesses that commit to renewability practices, namely business growth in response to secured long-term supply resources, retailer preference and consumer demand for packaging made with renewable materials.

“Across industries, we see a growing demand for responsibly sourced packaging that addresses the issues of resource scarcity,” Comere says.

This is something Clear Lam took notice of a couple years ago when, as part of Clear Lam’s Project EarthClear initiative, it designed new, plant-based and renewable packaging for Precious Sticksters cheese snacks produced by Lactalis.

The package, which held individually-sealed cheese sticks, was made from a lamination of plant-based, renewable plastic and an outer layer made from traditional petroleum-based plastic. However, Lactalis has discontinued use of Clear Lam’s renewable packaging.

“We no longer use Clear Lam’s renewable packaging because of a cost issue,” says Gus Castle, packaging development manager, Lactalis American Group. “We may get back into it in the future, but it is difficult because of the premium on that kind of packaging.

“What’s happening here (in the United States) is that there is a higher cost on sustainable-type packaging. In Europe they use more sustainable packaging that is lightweight and greener because of a government mandate on taxing the carbon footprint of packaging manufacturing, which causes them to be more innovative,” Castle adds.

Castle says the European mandate causes packaging manufacturers to figure out the best way to create renewable packaging. With the carbon tax, companies in Europe are looking and succeeding in creating cost-effective renewable packaging solutions for the dairy and cheese industries. This is why European-based companies like Tetra Pak create renewable products that fit into its current production machinery.

“Environmental excellence is one of Tetra Pak’s strategic priorities and a driver of our product development activities,” says Charles Brand, vice president of marketing and product management, Tetra Pak. “Together with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders, we are leading the industry toward 100 percent renewable packaging. We believe that increasing the renewable content of our packages is not only good for the environment, but also offers our customers a competitive advantage in the overall environmental profile of their products.”

According to Castle, in the United States renewable packaging is more of a marketing trend, and the cheese industry is market-driven, but also cost-driven. The production of cheese and dairy products is expensive, making the use of renewable packaging more difficult than, for example, cosmetic companies who have larger margins and can afford to spend more on packaging, Castle says.

Major retailers such as Walmart and Costco have driven the trend by requesting renewable packaging for their customers, which has helped increase and promote renewable packaging, but not nearly to the scale seen in Europe, Castle adds.

“Lactalis will revisit renewable packaging in the future,” Castle says. “I would like to see it embraced more in the United States. There is a similar carbon-based taxing making its way in Canada and I think the United States will be close behind. I do see it coming in the next 10 years.”

Another type of renewable packaging possibility is coming from the dairy industry in the form of whey.

Two years ago, 14 partners from seven European Union countries formed WheyLayer Ltd. and set out to develop a patented, sustainable packaging material with an economical production process that uses the barrier properties of whey protein against oxygen and humidity to replace the conventional polymer layers in packaging with a natural product.

Whey, a cheese byproduct, can be highly polluting if not properly handled due to its high organic content. Fifty percent of the 50 million metric tons of whey produced annually in Europe is still unprocessed, WheyLayer says.

Unfortunately, WheyLayer’s first material was limited in terms of the deformation it was able to withstand during the thermoforming process after a few days of storage. Currently, WheyLayer II is underway.

Meanwhile, IRIS, a research institute in Barcelona, Spain, kicked off ThermoWhey this summer. Scientists will focus on creating a new bio-based, thermoformable whey barrier coating that can be used for sensitive foods.

Similar projects exist throughout Europe, South America and Canada.

Whey bioplastics in the United States have been researched by USDA and other entities. However, there have not been signs of commercialization, says Dean Sommer, a cheese and food technologist with the senior management team at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research.

“To my knowledge, I have not heard or seen commercialization in the United States,” Sommer says. “There was much talk of it around 2011. It’s possible it could happen in the future, but there’s a lot of competing interest for whey here.”

The outcome for whey bioplastics in the United States will be dependent on the driving force behind the movement, Sommer adds.

“If commercialization does happen, it will have to be pushed from more of a green perspective, not that whey is just a waste product,” Sommer says. “There’s so much value in whey these days, we’re even finding uses for acid whey.”


DMI launches partnerships to reinvigorate fluid milk category

October 31, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A new $500 million-plus partnership between Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and seven companies to reinvigorate the fluid milk category was announced this week during the joint annual meeting of the National Dairy Board (NDB), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA).

“This announcement completes a 2-year journey that dairy farmers asked us to pursue after nearly 40 years of declining fluid milk consumption,” says Tom Gallagher, CEO, DMI. “I think dairy farmers are really excited about this because it’s a unique and large investment in a category that hasn’t seen growth in many years.”

Igniting innovation in fluid milk and milk-based beverages to meet the growing demands of both foreign and U.S. consumers is the objective of the seven wide-ranging partnerships announced by DMI Wednesday. These seven partners, supported by DMI — which represents America’s dairy farm families and importers — are committing an unprecedented investment to unlock innovation and put milk back in the center of the rapidly-growing health and wellness beverage market, DMI says.

The seven partners from across the supply chain include Dairy Farmers of America (DFA); Darigold/Northwest Dairy Association; The Kroger Co.; Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc.; Shamrock Farms; Southeast Milk Inc and The Coca-Cola Co. All partners are working aggressively to pursue growth opportunities for fluid milk through infrastructure, capital, human resource and marketing investments.

“These dairy partners are making an unprecedented investment over the next few years — more than half a billion dollars in capital and other resources,” Gallagher says. “With our (dairy) checkoff resources and dedication to fluid milk innovation, we’re excited to see how unique partnerships will help us drive ingenuity and generate new offerings and sales in the fluid milk category.”

DMI’s fluid milk partnerships represent marketplace leaders chosen for their anticipated catalytic effect in causing others in the business to follow with innovation and investment, he adds.

The companies bring strong financial, technological and marketing capabilities to the partnerships; DMI’s commitment is assisting in product development, consumer insights, nutritional consulting, technical and formulation support, and introductions to perspective marketplace partners.

“We know that growing the fluid milk business won’t be quick or easy, but we believe these seven partners put us on the right footing,” says Neil Hoff, Texas dairy farmer and UDIA chairman. “We see health and wellness and demand for protein as a consistent need for U.S. consumers, and also for consumers around the world.”

The seven partnerships will work to meet consumer needs through a variety of efforts including new products, new channels, enhanced distribution, merchandising and more.

“We can’t stay just with the traditional gallon and half-gallon options that exist now,” Hoff says. “We need to have innovative, on-the-go fluid milk products. And we want new packaging to get into new channels in innovative ways.”

Gallagher notes that products will be geared largely toward extended-shelf-life or shelf-stable products, with new packaging and smaller, on-the-go sizes.

One of the first new products that will be launching toward the end of 2014 or early 2015 is fairlife, an innovate new milk product created through collaboration between Coca-Cola and Sue and Mike McCloskey, owners of Fair Oaks Farms, Fair Oaks, Ind., through the cooperative Select Milk Producers. The product has been tested in the Denver area and has been well-received, says Mike Saint John, president of Coca-Cola North America’s Minute Maid Business Unit.

The product has 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium, and less sugar than traditional milk. The product also is lactose-free and comes in a sleek hand-held bottle that highlights the connection to dairy farmers.

Gallagher notes other potential new products may include 100 percent milk products as well as milk-and-juice-blend products.


Baker Cheese announces expansion, to add 40 jobs

October 31, 2014

ST. CLOUD, Wis. — Baker Cheese Inc. is expanding and modernizing its operations in St. Cloud, Wis., with a project expected to create about 40 new jobs.

Baker Cheese is investing $7 million in new equipment. The project has commenced and is expected to be completed by October 2016.

“Wisconsin is the No. 1 cheese-producing state in the country and in order to ensure the industry remains strong, it’s important that state cheesemakers continue to aggressively upgrade their operations,” says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “I commend Baker Cheese Factory for making this significant investment in its operations as a way to modernize and reach new markets — which is good for Fond du Lac County and the entire region.”

Baker Cheese manufactures natural string cheese under the Baker Cheese label and for several private labels. The company has the capability to produce string cheese in a variety of flavors and styles for customers of various sizes.

“Baker Cheese is committed to the growth of the Wisconsin dairy industry by investing in our Wisconsin cheese plant operations,” says Brian Baker, president, Baker Cheese. “High-quality Wisconsin milk and dedicated employees allow our company to supply award-winning string cheese to the growing domestic and international markets. As an organization, we have remained focused on providing high-quality jobs to our local economy and are excited about this next project for the continued growth of our company.”

In addition to making building and equipment improvements in St. Cloud, Baker Cheese is investing in a new wastewater treatment facility that will help the company expand its whey operations.

According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the demand for whey has grown both domestically and internationally. During the first three months of 2014, Wisconsin companies exported $44 million in whey to other countries — a 53 percent increase over last year.

WEDC has authorized up to $800,000 in Economic Development Tax Credits for the company over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits awarded will depend upon the number of jobs created and retained during that period.

“Baker Cheese Factory is one of many family-owned cheese companies that has a rich history in Wisconsin, and we are pleased to support the company in its modernization efforts,” says Reed Hall, secretary and CEO, WEDC. “This award, like others WEDC has provided to cheesemakers throughout the state, will help ensure that Wisconsin continues to produce the most — and the best — cheese in the country.”


DFA’s Provolone wins Chairman’s Plaque from NMPF

October 31, 2014

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A Provolone made by Albert Designa of Dairy Farmers of America, Turlock, Calif., won the Chairman’s Plaque for “Best Overall Cheese” at this year’s National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest. Designa was given the Chairman’s award for his Regular Provolone during a luncheon Wednesday at the Joint Annual Meeting of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, NMPF and United Dairy Industry Association held here this week.

Designa’s Regular Provolone also was named “Best Italian” at the cheese contest. “Best Cheddar” went to Tillamook County Creamery Association’s Team 1, Tillamook Ore., for its Medium Cheddar, while the “Best Cottage Cheese” title went to cheesemaker Jim Hoffman of Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Quincy, Ill., for his 4-percent small curd variety. Category winners from the contest were featured at the meeting’s “Welcome to Texas” reception Tuesday evening.

Cheese competition judges were Noreen Ratzlaff and Allison Reynolds of USDA’s Dairy Division; Mark Johnson, assistant director, University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research; and Timothy Meyers, assistant professor, food administration, College of DuPage.

Award winners and scores in each category are as follows:

• Mild Cheddar

First: Tom Daul, Land O’Lakes Inc., Kiel, Wis., Mild Cheddar, 98.00.

Second: Team Middlebury, Agri-Mark Inc., Middlebury, Vt., Cabot Mild Vermont Cheddar, 97.50.

Third: Foremost Farms USA, Marshfield, Wis., Mild Cheddar, 97.25.

• Medium Cheddar

First: Team 1, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore., Medium Cheddar, 97.75.

Second: Team Cabot, Agri-Mark Inc., Cabot, Vt., Medium Vermont Cheddar, 97.25.

Third: Team Chateaugay, Agri-Mark Inc., Chateaugay, N.Y., Medium New York Cheddar, 96.75.

• Sharp Cheddar

First: Team 3, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore., Sharp Cheddar, 99.00.

Second: Team 1, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore., Sharp Cheddar, 98.75.

Third: Team Chateaugay, Agri-Mark Inc., Chateaugay, N.Y., McCadam Sharp New York Cheddar, 98.55.

• Extra Sharp Cheddar

First: Luke Kopecky, Land O’Lakes Inc., Kiel, Wis., Extra Sharp Cheddar, 99.50.

Second: Team Chateaugay, Agri-Mark Inc., Chateaugay, N.Y., McCadam Extra Sharp New York Cheddar, 98.50.
Third: Team Middlebury, Agri-Mark Inc., Middlebury, Vt., Cabot Extra Sharp Vermont Cheddar, 98.20.

• Provolone

First: Albert Designa, Dairy Farmers of America, Turlock, Calif., Regular Provolone, 99.70.

Second: Team 3, Foremost Farms USA, Chilton, Wis., Smoked Provolone, 99.30.

Third: Sam Lopes, Dairy Farmers of America, Turlock, Calif., Regular Provolone, 99.20.

• Hard & Mold Ripened Italian

First: Associated Milk Producers Inc., Hoven, S.D., Aged Romano, 99.50.

Second: Caves of Faribault, Swiss Valley Farms, Faribault, Minn., Gorgonzola, 99.40.

Third: Caves of Faribault, Swiss Valley Farms, Faribault, Minn., Blue, 99.20.

• Natural

First: Team 2, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Boardman, Ore., Co-Jack, 99.50.

Second: First District Association, Litchfield, Minn., Marbled Monterey Jack & Cheddar, 99.30.

Third: Team Chateaugay, Agri-Mark Inc., Chateaugay, N.Y., McCadam New York Muenster Cheese, 99.20.

• Swiss

First: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Baby Swiss, 99.50.

Second: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Maasdam, 99.30.

Third: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Cut Swiss, 99.20.

• Processed American Plain

First: Russ Evans, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Wis., Colored Slices, 98.80.

Second: Ralph Schutz, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Wis., Swiss Slices, 98.50.

Third: Roger Davis, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Wis., EZ Melt Loaf, 98.20.

• Processed American Flavored

First: Chris Dickson, Dairy Farmers of America, West Middlesex, Pa., Processed American Cheese with Peppers, 99.10.

Second: Team Chateaugay, Agri-Mark Inc., Chateaugay, N.Y., Horseradish Cheddar Cheese, 99.00.

Third: Ralph Schutz, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, Wis., American & Monterey Jack with Peppers, 98.60.

• Unique or Flavored

First: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Smoked Maasdam, 99.20.

Second: Team Cabot, Agri-Mark Inc., Cabot, Vt., Cabot Chipotle Cheddar, 98.90.

Third: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Gouda Plus, 98.80.

• Reduced Fat

First: Team 2, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, Wis., Reduced Fat Smoked Provolone, 98.70.

Second: Team 1, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, Wis., Reduced Fat Provolone, 98.50.

Third: Team 1, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore., Reduced Fat Monterey Jack, 98.40.

• Open Class

First: Salvador Beltran, Dairy Farmers of America, Houston, Texas, Queso Fresca, 98.60.

Second: Swiss Valley Farms, Luana, Iowa, Cream Cheese, 98.50.

Third: Salvador Beltran, Dairy Farmers of America, Houston, Texas, Panela Fresca, 98.40.

• Cottage Cheese

First: Jim Hoffman, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Quincy, Ill., 4-percent Small Curd, 99.20.

Second: Jason, Zack, Lance, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Chandler, Okla., 4-percent Small Curd, 98.90.

Third: Dwayne Elkins, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., 4-percent Small Curd, 98.50.

• Reduced Fat Cottage Cheese

First: Jim Hoffman, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Quincy, Ill., 2-percent Small Curd, 99.00.

Second: Dwayne Elkins, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., 4-percent Small Curd, 98.70.

Third: Mike Nappo, Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., West Seneca, N.Y., 1-percent Small Curd, 98.60.

• Flavored Cottage Cheese

First: Mike Nappo, Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., West Seneca, N.Y., 4-percent Pineapple, 98.70.

Second: Tony Lepkowski, Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., West Seneca, N.Y., Nonfat Pineapple, 98.40.

Third: Tony Lepkowski, Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., West Seneca, N.Y., 4-percent Chive, 98.20.

• Natural Cheese Snack

First: Joe Hines, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, Wis., Ranch Cheddar Cheese Curds, 98.90.

Second: Joe Hines, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, Wis., Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds, 98.80.

Third: Joe Hines, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, Wis., Cajun Cheddar Cheese Curds, 98.70.

• Processed Cheese Snack

First: Team Cabot, Agri-Mark Inc., Cabot, Vt., Cabot Extra Sharp Spreadable Cheddar, 98.60.

Second: Team Cabot, Agri-Mark Inc., Cabot, Vt., Cabot Habanero Spreadable Cheddar, 98.00.

Third: Team Cabot, Agri-Mark Inc., Cabot, Vt., Cabot Horseradish Spreadable Cheddar, 97.90.



Red Barn Family Farms introduces American Original, continues to grow

By Kate Sander

APPLETON, Wis. — In an environment where bigger is often deemed better or at least necessary to survive, veterinarian Terry Homan kept seeing small dairy farms operated by families who excelled at animal husbandry, and he connected that animal care to the high-quality milk those farms produced.

Due to economies of scale, those small dairies were — and are — often talked about as if they don’t have a future. However, Homan and his wife Paula Homan, both of whom grew up on dairies themselves, decided that wasn’t right.

“I came to the conviction that excellent small dairy farms should have a place in the future,” Terry Homan says.

In response to what they saw as an opportunity to give small dairies a strong foothold in the future, the husband and wife team founded Red Barn Family Farms.

Starting in 2008, Red Barn Family Farms contracted with Lamers Dairy, Appleton, Wis., to process its branded milk for northeast Wisconsin hospitals, colleges and coffee shops. The company also began contracting with what is now a handful of Wisconsin cheesemakers to produce cheese, including American Originals like its newly introduced Cupola, for institutional foodservice providers and specialty food distributors across the United States.

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Partnerships help to grow DMI Consumer Confidence initiative

October 24, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — The U.S. dairy industry is increasingly looking for ways to share its story with today’s consumers who are evermore concerned with tracing how and where their food is made. Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is helping marketing partners tell consumers the story of where their food comes, while the partners in turn not only help sell more dairy but also give dairy farmers a channel to reach consumers.

Consumers today want high quality, safe and nutritious dairy foods and ingredients that are produced in a way that is socially, economically and environmentally responsible, notes Mollie Waller, chief communications officer for DMI, which manages the national dairy producer checkoff program.

“We can help meet those consumers and reconnect them with modern food and dairy production and talk with consumers where they are, which includes social media,” Waller says.

The dairy checkoff’s Consumer Confidence initiative is seeking to ramp up this effort by using a unified voice to reconnect consumers with agriculture in order to ensure farmers a future market, improve dairy’s image, and protect and grow dairy sales, DMI says.

“Dairy farmers and dairy companies are critical voices in telling dairy’s story to consumers,” DMI says. “We want consumers to understand that dairy is ‘where good comes from.’”

Through channels such as the checkoff’s online newsroom at and social media, the industry is working to effectively engage consumers by introducing dairy into topics they already are talking about, DMI notes.

DMI’s Dairy Good Newsroom monitors news and trends and provides dairy a voice in pertinent consumer, industry, thought leader and farmer conversations, DMI says.

“We monitor for issues that could impact consumer confidence and provide strategies that engage other industry organizations to assure a unified voice,” Waller says.

“Farmers are out there telling their stories, but everyone in dairy needs to work together to better connect consumers to agriculture,” Waller says.

Less than 2 percent of Americans work in agriculture, so there is a disconnect, she notes.

“Misinformation is spread quickly, so trust is critically important,” Waller says. “And we’ve really found that trust equals sales.”

Key marketing partnerships between DMI and major brands — including Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s,Quaker, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell — help to bridge the gap between dairy and consumers as well as ensure a long-term pipeline of dairy products coming from these relationships, notes Barb O’Brien, senior executive vice president of DMI and president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, founded by DMI and the producer checkoff program.

“In most cases, these are long-term relationships, and they evolve over time,” O’Brien says.

She notes that McDonald’s sees 27 million customers each day in the United States.

“We as an industry can help them tell the story of where their food comes from, and they in turn can help us to have a voice,” O’Brien says.

She notes that milk now is the default beverage offered in McDonald’s Happy Meals as dairy is becoming part of a health and wellness halo that the company is bringing to its children’s meals.

An advertising campaign McDonald’s did for Happy Meals last year featured the minions from the popular film “Despicable Me 2” blowing milk bubbles and a downloadable milk bubbles computer app for children.

“It’s a subtle way to put dairy out there, and it can depict the healthfulness of dairy in a fun way,” O’Brien says.

DMI’s 6-year partnership with Domino’s includes an initiative called Delivering Dairy Goodness, which launched during June Dairy Month in 2013. Domino’s, working with local dairy promotion organizations around the country, invited the public to “Delivering Dairy Goodness” events, both on and off the farm.

“It’s a way for Domino’s local business owners, along with dairy farm family businesses, to connect with their communities around the country,” O’Brien says. “It also allowed Domino’s franchisees to make direct connections with local dairy farmers and learn where products come from.”

Domino’s current advertising helps consumers trace back the pizza-making process to the dairy farmer, she adds.

“(Domino’s has) a great pizza box with six dairy cows on the cover and there is a back story on the dairy and the cows,” O’Brien says.

“Those are vehicles that DMI’s partnerships and relationships have gained with making things fun and creative through our connections,” Waller adds.

O’Brien notes that since DMI first partnered with Domino’s, cheese usage has increased across the entire pizza category.

“Since 2009, there has been an increase of 10 billion pounds in incremental milk use across the pizza category,” she says.

Meanwhile, DMI’s newer partnership with Quaker Oats encourages U.S. consumers to make oatmeal with lowfat milk instead of water and serve it alongside a glass of milk.

For the first time since 1877, the Quaker Oats Man, known as Larry, is donning a new accessory — the iconic milk mustache. An ad featuring Larry’s new accessory debuted recently in People magazine. In addition to the ad in People, the partnership features TV and online ads.

The image also is featured on Quaker Oats canisters, marking the first time a milk mustache has made its way onto shelves in the grocery aisle with the slogan “Make it with milk.” On-pack messaging also features interactive mobile technology allowing shoppers to scan the package to unlock recipes and share photos.

“This is a win-win for us. This partnership with Quaker and dairy marries two nutrition powerhouses,” O’Brien says.

She adds that Quaker also acknowledges America’s dairy farmers in some of its advertising.

“These brands can give confidence to consumers by talking about dairy and farming and where the food comes from,” O’Brien says.

Waller notes that efforts to increase consumer confidence are only successful when the whole industry and supply chain is involved.

To that end, DMI’s website and newsroom create an opportunity for a network of more than 100 communicators across the industry to come together and find a common voice, she says.

“It’s a place where we can monitor the news and trends, connect with consumers,” she says. “At the same time, we’re also starting our own conversations about dairy to get positive information out there.”

DMI currently is working to further engage Millennials — consumers age 18-34 — who have $2.5 trillion in spending power, Waller notes.

“Their influence is enormous — over people both ahead of and behind their generation,” she says.

“They want to buy from people who are doing good business, and they get a lot of their info by word of mouth.”

It’s also an audience that is in jeopardy of not getting the nutrients they need, Waller adds.

“We feel we have a moral obligation to help these generations,” she says. “It’s our honor and privilege to provide these products to help them with this challenge.”

O’Brien notes the Millennial generation of farmers are very tech savvy.

“They’re very connected, which presents a wonderful opportunity to get them connected with consumers,” she says.

O’Brien adds that dairy processors also have the opportunity to capture the power of the dairy farmer in telling their brands’ story.

“Some processors have done well in bringing dairy’s story to light,” she says. “No matter where you sit in the supply chain, consumers want to know where their food comes from.”

Looking ahead, DMI also is working on the launch of a cookbook next summer. “The Dairy Good Cookbook” will celebrate the heritage of dairy farmers in the industry and feature recipes from farmers and celebrity chefs. It will be in stores to coincide with June Dairy Month in 2015.
Next year also will mark the 100-year anniversary of the National Dairy Council and the 20-year anniversary of DMI and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

“We have some major Consumer Confidence initiatives planned for 2015,” Waller says. “There’s a lot to celebrate.”


Symposium speaker highlights key Codex issues for U.S. dairy

October 24, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — As the U.S. dairy industry expands its presence in the global marketplace, Allen Sayler, managing partner with the Center for Food Safety and Regulatory Solutions (CFSRS), provided an overview of key Codex issues for the U.S. dairy industry during the American Dairy Products Institute Technical Symposium held here this week.

The 2-day symposium included discussion on key technical aspects of dairy manufacturing as well as regulatory issues impacting the industry.

Sayler’s discussion provided an overview of Codex as well as key issues to watch that could affect U.S. dairy.

Since it was formed by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1961 and the 16th World Health Assembly in 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission has held 50 sessions. There are currently 173 member countries, Sayler notes.

“Codex Alimentarius” means food code. The primary purpose of the intergovernmental organization, known informally as Codex, is to develop international food standards, guidelines and codes to reflect international norms on food safety and identity.

Sayler says Codex is important to the North American and global dairy industries because if countries participate, Codex dairy standards automatically become individual country dairy standards. Codex supercedes bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, he says.

In addition, international trade disputes under the World Trade Organization (WTO) can be settled using Codex dairy standards, he notes.

“If you are a member of Codex, you are supposed to take the Codex standards and incorporate them into your own country’s standards,” Sayler says.

However, “we have a little problem in the U.S.; we have not adopted Codex standards ourselves, and we have a vulnerability if a country tried to export a product here that meets Codex standards but not U.S. standards and we rejected it,” he says. “Technically, if it meets the Codex standards, it should be able to be imported to the U.S., and conversely, we should be able to export products that meet these standards.”

Sayler notes the U.S. dairy industry has been expanding internationally.

“U.S. dairy exports have exploded sine 2003, while dairy imports are down,” he says.

In 2003, the United States produced 170.3 billion pounds of milk, and U.S. dairy exports accounted for 9.7 billion pounds, Sayler notes.

By 2013, the United States produced 201.2 billion pounds of milk, and U.S. dairy exports accounted for 31.2 billion pounds, he says.

“Just shy of 70 percent of all the milk production growth since 2003 entered the export market,” he says.

At the same time, new bilateral and regional free trade agreements in South Korea and Colombia are coming into effect; the United States and European Union (EU) are negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); the United States is a key leader in negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to open new markets in Asia to U.S. exports; and prospects remain for an updated WTO multilateral free trade agreement to further reform agricultural commodity and food trade, Sayler notes.

International trade agreements have reduced the ability of countries to protect their domestic industries from competition from other countries’ industries, he says.

“Economic growth around the world, but especially in developing countries, has increased the demand for food and agricultural commodity trade,” he says.

Sayler also outlined some key issues to watch that are currently being considered in Codex:

• New standard

A Processed Cheese Codex Physical Working Group Meeting is set for Jan. 20-22, 2015, in Brussels, Belgium.

The issue at hand is the development of some type of generic description of processed cheese to be used by countries so that they have some amount of dairy ingredients and are “cheese-like,” Sayler says. He notes the U.S. dairy industry has “much to lose and little to gain” with this issue. (See

“Codex renews effort to develop new standard for processed cheese” in the July 18, 2014, issue of Cheese Market News.)

There’s also a discussion paper on whey permeate powder standards in the works, he says.

• Labeling of non-retail containers

Sayler notes there is a discussion paper on the labeling of non-retail containers.

Current standards state that information, and if necessary, storage instructions, shall be given either on the container or in accompanying documents, except that the name of the product, lot identification and the name of the manufacturer or packer shall appear on the container, and in the absence of such a container, on the product itself, Sayler says.

However, lot identification and the name and address may be replaced by an identification mark, provided that such mark is clearly identifiable with the accompanying documents, he adds.

“There are 31 Codex dairy standards with ‘non-retail’ labeling sections that allow labeling to be on the product packaging or in ‘accompanying documents,’” he says. “This is a common method of providing labeling information to the buyer.”

However, India is proposing that more information be required on the container itself.

“This is unnecessary and something that we want to make sure does not go forward,” he says.

• Food hygiene

A food hygiene meeting is set for Nov. 17-21 in Lima, Peru, to review a proposed draft annex on statistical and mathematical considerations to the Principles and Guidelines for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria Related to Foods, Sayler notes.

This could be problematic as the draft contains the need to conduct end product testing for Salmonella, and environmental testing for Salmonella and Enterobacteriaceae, he says.

“This could have as much impact on those who export as the Food Safety Modernization Act has on domestic products,” he says.

“It’s well along on the Codex process of getting finalized,” he adds. “I’m meeting with U.S. government officials next week to see where we stand on this issue.”

Sayler says other unfinished and developing issues in Codex include sustainability and environmental issues, as well as discussion on milk permeate powder, cheese standards and specific food additives.

He notes the United States tends to be more reactionary than proactive when it comes to Codex standards.

“It seems in the U.S., we’re almost always reacting,” Sayler says. “I’d love to go to a Codex meeting with something our industry is proposing.

“We’d like more U.S. participation,” he adds. “Things are getting much more interesting, and we need people from the industry involved.”


U.S. milk production up 4 percent in September

October 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — Milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states during September totaled 15.49 billion pounds, up 4.1 percent from September 2013, according to recently-released data from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Milk Production chart on page 11.)

August revised production in the 23 major states, at 16.17 billion pounds, was up 2.6 percent from August 2013. The August revision represents a decrease of 3 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate, according to NASS.

For the entire United States, milk production totaled an estimated 16.47 billion pounds in September, according to NASS, up 4.0 percent from September 2013.

NASS says U.S. milk production during the July-September quarter totaled 51.13 billion pounds, up 3.5 percent from the July-September quarter last year. The average number of dairy cows in the United States during this quarter was 9.27 million head, 15,000 head more than the April-June quarter and 44,000 head more than the same period last year.

In September, there were an estimated 9.27 million dairy cows on U.S. farms, up 2,000 head from the previous month and 59,000 head more than the previous year. Production per cow in September was an average of 1,777 pounds, up 58 pounds from September 2013.

In the 23 major states, there were 8.59 million cows in September, up 4,000 head from August and up 78,000 head from September 2013. Production per cow averaged 1,804 pounds in September, an increase of 56 pounds vs. September 2013.

California led the nation’s production with 3.29 billion pounds in September, up 2.9 percent from its production a year earlier. NASS says there were 1.78 million cows on California dairies in September, unchanged from August and 2,000 head less than a year earlier. However, production per cow was up 55 pounds from the previous September to 1,850 pounds in September 2014.

Wisconsin, the next-highest milk-producing state, saw production climb 3.2 percent in the September-to-September comparison. NASS reports there were 1.27 million cows on Wisconsin dairies in September, unchanged from the previous month and down 2,000 head from a year earlier.

Production per cow in Wisconsin averaged 1,805 pounds in September 2014, up 60 pounds from a year earlier.


WTO decision on COOL puts dairy exports in jeopardy

October 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — The World Trade Organization (WTO) this week issued a compliance panel report that found the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) revised rule violates U.S. international trade obligations. Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule in the WTO, claiming it has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market.

Backed by the finding, Canada and Mexico may retaliate against a wide range of U.S products, including dairy products, with high, burdensome tariffs, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). These countries represent two of the largest markets for U.S. agricultural goods, IDFA notes.

The COOL rule requires most retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry.

IDFA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, which promotes reforms to the COOL requirements to ensure that they are compliant with international trade obligations. In a statement released this week, the coalition says the ruling “could cause significant economic repercussions for

U.S. manufacturing and agriculture, unless Congress intervenes.”

“If Congress fails to ensure that U.S. COOL requirements comply with our international obligations, U.S. jobs and manufacturing will be put at risk,” says Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, another coalition member. “The United States helped create the WTO to ensure that all countries play by the rules. U.S. leadership in complying with our own obligations is critical to the United States’ ability to address effectively unfair and WTO-violative trade barriers by our trading partners around the world.”

Meanwhile, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the ruling by WTO on COOL can be handled by USDA and notes the strong support by the public and in rural America for the labeling law.

“American consumers want to know where their food comes from, and America’s family farmers and ranchers are proud to provide that information,” Johnson says. “Nothing about (this) ruling changes that rudimentary fact.

“Under the guidance of USDA, any changes to COOL to ensure full compliance with today’s decision should be able to be made administratively, while maintaining the integrity of COOL labels,” he adds.

IDFA says it anticipates the United States will appeal the WTO decision, with final adjudication by the WTO expected as early as mid-2015.

To view the WTO report, visit



Dairy producers grapple with persistent drought in the West

October 17, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — As drought conditions persist in the Western United States, dairy farmers are getting creative in ways to conserve water and supplement feed, and the costs are starting to add up.

“We’ve all been taking steps to minimize water usage,” says Perry Tjaarda, owner of Tjaarda Dairy in Shafter, Calif., outside Bakersville and a board member of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

“On the farm itself, we’re constantly scrutinizing what we’re using water for and if we need to,” he says.

Tjaarda, who currently milks about 3,200 cows on his farm, notes how important water is to a dairy operation.

“The girls need to drink, and we need water to keep things cleaned and sanitized,” he says.

Tjaarda is one of many producers in the West facing a tight water supply. And it’s not an issue affecting only the dairy industry. The state of California’s drought is entering its fourth year, with reservoirs only 36 percent full, according to recent reports.

“The drought in California has had a tremendous impact on the state’s agriculture industry and is a serious concern,” says John Azevedo, member-owner and chairman of the board for California Dairies Inc. and owner of Azevedo Dairy Inc., Patterson, Calif.

While all sectors of agriculture have felt the effects of the drought, some sectors are experiencing it much more severely, he adds.

“Those hardest hit by the drought are the permanent crop farmers who rely on state and federal water contracts for their water needs. Those contracts have received zero water allocations for the year,” Azevedo says. “The largest impact the drought has had on the California dairy industry is seen in the increased cost of forages. To combat high-priced forages, dairymen are feeding their cows differently by substituting high-priced forages with lower-cost rations.”

Currently, 58 percent of the state is classified as D4, Exceptional Drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor managed by the National Integrated Drought Information System (see chart on page 16).

In January of this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an Emergency Drought Proclamation and called for state residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent.

Water conservation efforts throughout the state are ongoing, and a recent report from the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) in California says that water conservation efforts in the state’s urban communities continued an upward trend in August, climbing to 11.5 percent increased conservation statewide.

“Many more California communities are taking the drought seriously and making water conservation a priority — and residents are responding,” says Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Board.

“However, while we can hope for rain, we can’t count on it, so we must keep going. Every gallon saved today postpones the need for more drastic, difficult and expensive action should the drought continue into next year.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced that it is accepting applications for a second round of funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation.

SWEEP is an opportunity for farmers to receive financial assistance to install water distribution systems that save water and reduce greenhouse gases. Up to $150,000 will be provided directly to agricultural operations for water and energy conservation projects. The funding can support a broad range of irrigation-related projects such as pump improvements, equipment to facilitate water-saving measures and other reduction management practices.

Application guidelines and more information can be found at

Applications are due Nov. 10 by 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Leslie J. Butler, agricultural economist at the University of California-Davis, notes that California producers are finding it difficult to source suitable feed in these conditions, and what is available is expensive.

“If the drought continues, I would expect many dairy producers will continue to find it difficult to source feed in California,” he says. “The biggest difficulty for most California producers will be purchasing alfalfa locally, and therefore, transportation costs become a nightmare for most of them when they have to ship it in from out of state.”

Tom Barcellos, owner of 800-cow T-Bar Dairy in Porterville, Calif., and president of Western United Dairymen (WUD), says historically he has grown and sold his own feed, which has supplemented his income, but in recent conditions he has had to purchase additional hay.

“We also didn’t plant corn this year in order to use up less water,” he adds. “You need a lot of water for quality corn.”

He notes conditions have hit the dairy harder this year as last year he was still able to plant all of his acreage.

“Going forward, we have some feed inventory, but we’re waiting to see if there’s any rain this winter to get winter forages planted,” he says.

The operation needs more surface water, Barcellos says

“The best solution to our issues is any surface water that becomes available,” he says. “I have to make sure I have enough water for the cows, too.”

Meanwhile, in addition to water limitations, organic dairy farmers are facing challenges in available pasture suitable for their herds to feed on.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, California is the state with the most organic dairy cows, a position it gained in recent years, and the lack of rainfall makes it harder for farmers to keep grasses green.

“The quality of our pasture has been OK, but it is far less pasture than normal,” says Lucas Deniz, owner of Deniz Dairy, an organic and conventional operation in Petaluma, Calif. Deniz milks about 150 conventional cows and 350 organic cows.

Deniz says that organic regulations typically require organic cows to be on pasture for a minimum of 120 days.

“Thankfully, in light of recent circumstances, that requirement has been reduced to 60 days,” he says.

He notes he also is paying about $400 a ton for organic hay that is used as a supplement.

“Typically, we don’t need that when they are feeding on pasture in better conditions,” he says.

Deniz says he is thinking about drilling a well in the next few months.

“At about $70,000, it’s certainly not cheap, but if you don’t have water, you have nothing,” he says.
He adds that California does not have a statewide plan for groundwater but the state is beginning to put in more regulations and restrictions.

“Down the line, I’m sure we’ll see increased restrictions and regulations on the amount of water we can pump from our wells, and we’ll likely have to pay for a permit, so the long-term effects and costs are certainly looming,” he says.

Other western dairy operations outside of California are feeling the pinch, too.

“Last year was a 65 to 70 percent allocation for our water usage; this year it’s 40 percent,” says Alan Perazzo, another DFA member and owner of Perazzo Brothers Dairy in Fallon, Nev., about 4 miles from the recently-opened DFA operation there.

“The last two years we’ve been affected by this drought,” he says. “Less forage was able to be grown, and this year was the first year in awhile we have not been able to grow corn.”

Perazzo has planted rye, milo and Sudan grass as supplement feedstuffs, but they do not provide as much energy as corn silage, he says.

“We are able to take other commodities and make a mix,” he says. “We’ve just had to get creative and do things differently than before.”

Weather analyst Joe D’Aleo, co-chief meteorologist with WeatherBELL Analytics, based in New York, N.Y., seems cautiously optimistic that the coming year could yield more moisture for the Western United States.

“We are in a developing El Niño pattern. Normally this is cheered because it brings rain,” D’Aleo says. “However, El Niños are not a 100 percent guarantee that it will be wet.”

He adds that he does think there will be a break in warm conditions and some storms could penetrate the winter and bring snow to the Sierras.

“There has been some rain in the north this month, but not enough to feed the system,” he says.

“Every El Niño is different,” he adds, noting that a weaker El Niño or even no El Niño doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be dry in Northern California.

Tjaarda says it’s hard to know what to expect.

“I’ve heard varying reports on the prospects for El Niño this winter, but it seems to change a lot,” he says.

At least it seems current conditions have not yet impacted milk production levels in the state. In fact, California milk production is steady to slightly higher on a week-to-week basis, USDA’s Dairy Market News says this week. Total milk volumes remain above a year ago by 2 to 4 percent, as reported by processors.

“Milk production has been up,” Tjaarda says. “It’s a funny thing with drought. As long as you have feed and water, the dry conditions do create good milk-making conditions.”

However, if the drought persists, “effects could be devastating,” he adds.

“I don’t worry about feed so much. You find feed, though it may cost more. This gives you time to come up with a solution,” Tjaarda says. “However, if you run out of water, you have minutes to hours, tops, to come up with a solution. The cows need to drink.”

Barcellos says while things are currently working at the farm, that could change long term if conditions don’t improve.

“We find ways to make things work, but at some point, if this situation continues, there will be challenges,” he says. “I know people who are looking to sell, but you need a viable place in order to sell.

“There are many elements of concern, and everyone is being diligent in seeing what’s next,” he adds. “If we get to January and haven’t had any rain or snow, I’ll be very concerned.”

He adds that the next 3-6 months will be crucial.

Tjaarda agrees, noting there could be serious consequences if the Sierras do not get some rain or snow.

“You’re trying to stay ahead of what’s happening, but there are no guarantees,” he says. “You just don’t know.”


U.S. butter price drops; butter up at GDT, but auction bearish

October 17, 2014

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — With the price of U.S. butter at a premium to global prices for much of this year, it comes as little surprise to most that spot butter at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has fallen in recent weeks.

The speed at which it has fallen, however, is impressive.

“The old saying goes, ‘prices take the stairs up and the elevator shaft down,’ but 93 cents inside of two weeks is impressive by anyone’s expectations,” says Dave Kurzawski, senior broker at FCStone, Chicago.

In the first four days of this week alone, butter fell a total of 67.5 cents, settling at $2.13 per pound on Thursday. Butter was still above $3 per pound less than a month ago, when it settled at $3.05 Sept. 26, the beginning of its descent. (For today’s prices, see chart on page 2.)

“I think we were always anticipating a sharp drop, and futures were predicting this would happen,” says Eric Meyer, president of HighGround Dairy, Chicago. “We expected this would happen as seasonal demand ebbs. It was a question of whether it would be this month or next.”

Kurzawski notes these are largely thin markets but they follow the same rules as any other market — greed and fear.

“For the past few weeks we’ve got a front row seat for commodity market emotion, but inventories have not been built yet,” he says. “Look for some level of support to come back into butter before we crack $2 per pound.”

Meyer agrees there could be some support at the $2 level with people filling pipelines for orders now that prices are lower, “but we may be in the $1.70s or $1.80s by early December.”

Analysts have been anticipating weakness in both the cheese and butter market as U.S. dairy prices have been far above global prices for some time. While the price of butter improved a bit this week in New Zealand at Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, the overall results still had a bearish tone, Meyer says.

“Convergence of U.S. and world prices is 99 percent on the U.S. side so far,” he says.

“The U.S. market is doing the heavy lifting in terms of closing the huge price disparity to the world,” Kurzawski agrees. “And we’ll have to continue in that fashion because the latest GDT event is more an indication of price stabilization that anything. Buyers are bottom-feeding and sellers still have inventory to clear. Volumes are up but prices are stable, and I expect that to be the case for some time to come.”

The GDT price index this week was up 1.4 percent and the average price achieved across all contracts and contract periods for butter increased 3.9 percent to US$2,614 per metric ton FAS ($1.1857 per pound).

Prices also increased for anhydrous milkfat, up 7.4 percent to US$3,346 per metric ton FAS ($1.5177 per pound); sweet whey powder, up 4.3 percent to US$1,225 per metric ton FAS ($0.5557 per pound); and whole milk powder, up 3.1 percent to US$2,503 per metric ton FAS ($1.1354 per pound).

Meanwhile, prices weakened for buttermilk powder, down 3.8 percent to US$2,685 per metric ton FAS ($1.2179 per pound); Cheddar, down 1 percent to US$3,007 per metric ton FAS ($1.3640 per pound); rennet casein, down 5.3 percent to US$7,780 per metric ton FAS ($3.5290 per pound); and skim milk powder, down 3.6 percent to US$2,462 per metric ton FAS ($1.1168 per pound).

The next trading event will be held Nov. 4. For more information, visit


Camel’s milk poised for increased role in dairy

October 17, 2014

By Emily King

MADISON, Wis. — Although not often thought of in connection with dairy, camels stand to play a larger role in the industry’s future. While it will never be more than a specialty item in the United States, camel’s milk items are poised to become slightly more popular thanks to a handful of newer U.S. producers. In addition, camel chymosin (CC) has seen success as a coagulant in certain types of cheese.

Californian camel dairies

Oasis Camel Dairy, Ramona, Calif., proclaims it was America’s first camel milking farm. Owned by Gil and Nancy Riegler, the dairy supports the efforts of furthering the education of the public about the nature of camels and their milk.

The dairy does not sell any of the raw milk from its camels, but Oasis Camel Dairy uses the milk to make camel’s milk lotions, soaps, lip treatment and skin serum. The family also drinks the milk themselves.

Another California-based camel’s milk dairy, Desert Farm Camel Milk — a brand within Santa Monica, Calif.-headquartered Desert Farms Inc. — just started production this year in Los Angeles.
California allows camel dairies and the sale of camel’s milk, provided it is produced and distributed from a properly permitted and licensed facility.

The founder of Desert Farms, Walid Abdul-Wahab, was in his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when he encountered a friend with a bag of camel’s milk and found it delectable. He moved to California shortly thereafter and viewed it as the perfect environment for creating a market for camel’s milk.

“I started Desert Farms right out of college as the first company in the United States to capitalize on the sale of camel’s milk, based on the idea that American consumers are constantly searching for the ultimate healthy beverage,” Abdul-Wahab says. “America’s health-conscious consumer appetite has lead to the rise of many dairy alternative beverages, but each has been met with unique flaws.”

Camel’s milk has been used for centuries as a natural remedy in Middle Eastern, Asian and North African cultures. In the United States there is demand for the beverage in the autism community, Abdul-Wahab says.

According to Abdul-Wahab and the Rieglers, the success camel’s milk has had in improving autism symptoms, other ailments and the overall health benefits of the product were the driving force behind the dairies’ inceptions.

Last year, “Camel Milk as a Potential Therapy as an Antioxidant in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The findings suggested that camel’s milk could improve behavior in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), specifically by decreasing oxidative stress, something those with ASD are vulnerable to.

The results of the study showed a reduction of oxidative stress after camel’s milk consumption; this could be attributed to the antioxidant nutrients in camel’s milk such as magnesium, which also enhances vitamin E and C absorption. Vitamin E, along with zinc and magnesium — all present in camel’s milk — could be the driving force behind the production of certain enzymes and the decrease of oxidative stress in those with ASD.

“It has a unique composition that differs from other ruminants’ milk,” the study says. “It contains lower fat, cholesterol and lactose than cow’s milk, higher minerals and vitamins A, B2, E and C compared to cow’s milk, and it contains no beta lactoglobulin and beta casein, which are the main causative of allergy in cow’s milk.”

The composition of camel’s milk is responsible for its many potential therapeutic effects, such as with food allergies, diabetes mellitus, hepatitis B and other autoimmune diseases, the study says.

Camel’s milk will never be a major player in the industry though because it is difficult to produce and as a result is extremely expensive. Milking camels only produce 5-6 liters per day. In addition, camels have long pregnancies, are difficult to train and are not easy to breed, Abdul-Wahab says.

Like Oasis Camel Dairy, Desert Farm sells an assortment of camel’s milk soaps. The milk it does sell retails for $18 for a 16-ounce bottle of raw camel’s milk.

• Camel’s role in mainstream dairy has more potential with chymosin

Camel may have more of a future in dairy on the ingredient side. In a study published last year in the Journal of Dairy Science called “Effect of camel chymosin (CC) on the texture, functionality, and sensory properties of low-moisture, part-skim (LMPS) Mozzarella cheese,” scientists compared the effects of bovine calf chymosin and CC on the functional and sensory properties and performance shelf life of LMPS Mozzarella.

Chymosin is a protease found in rennet. It is produced by newborn ruminant animals in the lining of the stomach to curdle the milk they ingest and is widely used in the production of cheese. During the study, the chymosin made by camels was found to be more effective at clotting cow’s milk than the chymosin made by the calf, which was interesting and surprising to John Lucey, director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and co-author of the study.

Lucey says CDR has worked on many different kinds of rennets over the years and was aware that initial research on CC indicated lower proteolytic activity in cheese.

“Protein breakdown by rennet is one of the key degradation mechanisms in LMPS Mozzarella that shortens its useful performance shelf life,” Lucey says. “So we wanted to see how well CC worked in this cheese and determine the extent of any possible increase in its shelf-life.”

Since the CC proved to be successful in extending the shelf life of LMPS Mozzarella in comparison to bovine chymosin, it is an attractive proposition for many LMPS cheese manufacturers. It may allow them to have product in distribution for a longer time or allow them to service more distant markets, Lucey adds.

There are a number of cheeses where less protein breakdown during ripening can be helpful, such as fresh cheese types where shelf life is relatively short. The use of CC will not impact the other key determinants of shelf life such as growth of spoilage organisms.

“We have also found that the use of CC leads to less bitterness, and switching to CC is an option for cheese manufacturers that have difficulties with this defect,” Lucey says.
Chr. Hansen, Hørsholm, Denmark, developed FAR-M, a pure CC produced by fermentation, in 2012. The product is designed for both camel’s and cow’s milk processing, and is available in the United States.

FAR-M is available in liquid and powder forms — the latter allowing for transportation at ambient temperatures and distribution to rural areas, the company says.


N.Y. Gov. Cuomo designates yogurt official state snack

October 17, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. — On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation making yogurt the official snack of New York State just before the second New York Yogurt Summit being held the same day.

“Yogurt is now the official snack of New York State, and the fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School deserve all of the credit,” says State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer. “From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the state capitol earlier this year, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation signed into law.”

Ranzenhofer introduced Senate Bill No. 6695 Feb. 28, and it was approved by the State Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee in May. (See “Bill to make yogurt N.Y. snack goes to Senate” in the May 16, 2014 issue of Cheese Market News.)

The first New York Yogurt Summit convened in 2012 resulted in a number of initiatives to eliminate barriers to business growth and help manufacturers continue to grow, Cuomo says.

At the 2014 New York State Yogurt Summit this week, Cuomo highlighted progress in the industry and shared ideas on how to move it forward. A number of measures will be put in place as a result of the summit, which was hosted at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“At last year’s summit, we listened to New York’s yogurt producers and dairy farmers for what we as the state could do to make the industry grow, and this year we are doing the same,” Cuomo says. “The success we have seen is another example of how we can work together to create jobs and develop this sector, which is vital to the economy.”

These steps include increased sales of New York State dairy products in state-run institutions, financial assistance to help increase technical assistance for the dairy industry, and initiatives to make the industry more energy efficient. The state also will explore ways to increase access to risk management tools which will better stabilize the industry during times of market instability.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision recently added a 4-ounce vanilla yogurt to its statewide menu. This new business partnership will result in the consumption of approximately 1.2 million cups of yogurt annually.

In addition, with a commitment of up to $1 million from New York State, as well as federal and private funds, State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill will build a teaching dairy processing facility.
SUNY Cobleskill will provide a certificate of training for laboratory technicians, processing specialists and quality technicians, among others. Foods processed at the facility will be used throughout the existing campus dining to promote local food and local processing.

At the first summit, Cuomo doubled the amount of per project funding for anaerobic digesters in the state from $1 million to $2 million.

A new Renewable Energy for Agriculture Task Force will advise Cuomo on renewable opportunities and industry-specific needs. The task force will be comprised of state and industry representatives, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will commit $75,000 to this initiative.

In addition, to continue advancements in digester technology, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is prepared to provide up to $1.2 million to support the construction of anaerobic digester technology at Cornell University’s Dairy Research Facility in Hartford, N.Y.


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
October 31, 2014

Barrels: $2.1100 (+4 1/2)
Blocks: $2.1400 (+1/2)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Aug.
939.633 mil. lbs.

Milk Production
23 State Total Sept.
15.485 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

The importance of industry relationships

Connie Tipton, president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association

Also this week: “Ready, set, engage for dairy demand” by Jennifer Giambroni, California Milk Advisory Board

Click here for our columnist archives


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