Milk Minute: EVOLVE

By Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO

Early this year, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion during the International Dairy Food Association’s Dairy Forum. During the panel, we discussed evolving consumer behavior and the pressing need for businesses to be responsive. Drawing insights from a McKinsey study on consumer trends, we talked about the intricacies and challenges that companies encounter in meeting ever-changing consumer demands.

On the panel, I had the privilege and honor to represent MMPA and shed light on our own journey from a business-to-business model to a cooperative with a growing consumer-centric approach. This transition was accelerated with the strategic acquisition of Superior Dairy, a move that underscored our commitment to understanding and meeting the evolving needs of consumers. Our approach has been gradual yet deliberate, aligning our strategies with the dynamic shifts in consumer preferences.

During the panel, we talked about how our society continues to see significant shifts, with consumers increasingly expressing interest in understanding the origins of the products they consume. This trend has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of transparent communication and consumer education.

While we continue navigating today’s consumer landscape and the volatile nature of the dairy market, we continue to be committed to fostering innovation and enhancing technology, in a way that’s sustainable on member farms, in our plants and in our communities.

Our investments in ventures such as GoodSport, the pioneering dairy-based sports drink; Dairy Distillery, a ground-breaking alliance that will build the world’s lowest-carbon ethanol plant at our Constantine, Mich. facility; and our new partnership with Amul, using MMPA member milk to bring the well-known international brand’s fluid milk to U.S. markets for the first time, all exemplify our proactive approach to diversifying our portfolio, driving sustainable growth and staying ahead of evolving consumer preferences.

During our Annual Meeting held in March we heard from our partners at Good Sport, Dairy Distillery and Amul. The meeting provided a great example of our company’s resilience and adaptability in the face of dynamic market forces and shifting consumer behavior. Through strategic investments and partnerships, and a relentless focus on meeting consumer needs, we are ready to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

This optimism for the future wouldn’t be possible without the team who works on our members’ behalf. When we consider all the awards our members received recognition for during the Annual Meeting and the quality milk they produce on the farm becoming a wholesome, nutritious dairy product, it’s a testament to the whole system working. We’re primed and ready for the next challenge and opportunity, because as a team, alongside our members, we’ve proven that we can evolve.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2024 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »