On 16 April, Bord Bia held its dairy markets seminar.

The theme of the day was Uncovering value-add opportunities for Irish dairy.

With 170 people in attendance, experts gained industry insights on global trade, risk management, optimising premium spending and consumer trends across the dairy sector.

Trends shaping consumer of tomorrow

For the last 16 years, Bord Bia has been running consumer lifetime trends, with the last update taking place in 2018.

Trends and insights specialist with Bord Bia Grace Binchy spoke about the global lifestyle trends shaping the consumers of tomorrow.

Trends and insights specialist with Bord Bia Grace Binchy speaking at the Bord Bia dairy markets seminar on Tuesday 16 April in the Killashee Hotel.

“There is so much information readily available at our fingertips. Equally, how we digest and engage with information has evolved.

"With that in mind, we have taken the time to step back and think about how we can look at this very dynamic world and how we can help the client companies we work with think about how to invest their time when it comes to consumer trends,” she says.

As a result, Bord Bia has developed a cultivate engine to find behavioural trends and measure them by interest and opportunity on a global scale. It is built on three key components:

  • Seed - identifies early-stage behavioural trends through scanning.
  • Feed - monitors real-time traction of behavioural trends.
  • Thrive - measures the adoption and potential of behavioural trends.
  • Drivers of change

    Some of the main drivers in change among consumers are anxieties concerning climate change, mental health and digital developments, including AI-driven fears and online influence, according to Grace.

    There are also economic challenges, such as inflation, distrust of authority and a lack of social cohesion.

    What do global consumers want?

    When it comes to dairy trends and identifying what global consumers want, Caroline Roux from Mintel emphasised brands must keep innovating to stay relevant to consumers, in light of food inflation and climate change.

    “Generation X is critical to dairy, their loyalty should be nurtured. In China, 49% of consumers born in the 70s drink dairy milk once a day or more.

    "In the US, 51% of Gen X only buy dairy milk, while 45% buy dairy milk and non-dairy milk. In France, 32% of Gen X eat cheese once a day or more,” says Caroline.

    Younger consumers want quick, easy and fun foods that break the rules.

    “Consumers are looking for unconventional snack meals with minimal effort or respect for traditional meal 'rules'. Consumers need products that offer elevated convenience, affordability and smaller pack sizes,” says Caroline.

    Regenerative agriculture will help position dairy as a solution to global warming, according to Caroline: “This can help shift the narrative around the environmental impact of dairy farming.”