Price, Nutrition Dominate Dairy Industry Conference In Phoenix

Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 5:05am
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The International Dairy Foods Association held its annual forum at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Molly McAdams and Rob Auckerman address attendees at the International Dairy Foods Association's annual Dairy Forum.

According to the Elanco Pulse Institute, there were more than 17 million dairy mentions on social media last December.

“They have a disproportionate amount of voice out there," said Rob Auckerman, president of North American Commercial Operations at Elanco Animal Health.

While food safety was among the most prominent in online conversations, Auckerman said that is not what people are talking about at the checkout stand.

His company makes and sells feed supplements and pharmaceuticals to food producers. He told conference attendees that extensive surveys and reports involving more than two dozen countries reveal clear opinions.

“Ninety-five percent of these 100,000 consumers globally say the things that drive them most are taste, cost and nutrition," he said.

Former grocery store executive and current industry consultant Molly McAdams backed him up. “Right now when it comes to food choice it’s being driven by selectionists — people that have the money, the education and the influence to make their voice known.”

It’s that consumer, McAdams said, that is well versed in social media. And, it’s why she thinks the industry needs to pay attention, but stay focused on the global picture.

According to a United Nations report, in 35 years, the world will need 70 percent more food to meet population demands — with the most growth in developing countries where price and nutrition are priorities.