15
February
2012

Innovation must lead, but consumer acceptance is key

Speaking from the Chair at the Dairy NPD Conference in Amsterdam today, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg told delegates that against a background of a positive market, innovation, new product development, and R & D must drive industry growth in the future. However, acceptance of new technologies by consumers was necessary to sustain the industry economically.

"Globally, demand for milk could outstrip supply in the next few years. Milk production is most developed in the West, but demand is growing fastest in the East. Market volatility is likely to escalate and already commodity markets are challenging added value markets in generating the highest returns. All these factors need to be considered," said Begg, "but within this it is vital that innovation is rewarded by the market.

"However, because of the sheer size and importance of our industry, and the fact that our products are consumed in almost every household, we are an industry that is constantly subjected to the most intense scrutiny, whether for our stewardship of the countryside or the products we bring to market.

"This means that we have to work hard, probably more than many other what you might call manufactured food products, at communicating the scientific development of dairy production, and dairy products, to consumers and Governments. "And, as I say to my scientific colleagues all the time, there is sometimes a belief that once the science has been established, that's the end of the story. That's wrong, it's only the beginning."

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