Niche Dairy Demands

Last year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said they’d be reviewing the Canadian definition of “vodka,” which – initially required it be made from grain or potatoes. That change happened last week.

This may provide a good opportunity for Candian Dairy to get out from behind declining milk sales. Omid McDonald’s milk-based alcoholic beverage “Vodkow” has been in the works since November, but made it on LCBO shelves a few weeks ago.

Milk-based vodka looks like any normal vodka, but is made from milk permeate – the stuff leftover after fats and proteins are removed for products like butter and cheese. Most companies throw it away.

It’s also lactose free.

Brands like Black Cow and Bertha’s Revenge have been around for a while, but Vodkow is the first Canadian brand to hit the market. As consumer concerns for dietary restrictions and sustainable living continue to grow, exploring opportunities such as this niche market could really benefit Canadian Dairy.



5 Bottles You Didn’t Know Had Milk in Them

Is Milk Good for You? Breaking down Milk Myths

Since the release of the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide, conversations about the relevance of dairy products have been circulating the web. Some nutritionists have gone so far as to claim that milk is actually very bad for you and people should cut it out of their diets altogether. Below, we break down these claims.

1. Milk is not good for you.

Milk is a crammed full of nutrients. A 200ml glass has 8 grams of protein, 300 mg of calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorous and vitamins B2 and B12. A moderate intake of milk is highly beneficial to your diet. As young adults, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are necessary to build a strong and dense bone structure and essential for other biological functions. These same nutrients are needed through adulthood. If we are low on these nutrients and can’t get them through our diets, calcium and phosphorus are withdrawn from our bones which weakens their integrity.
So yes, milk is good for you in moderation.

2. Milk will make you gain weight.

Milk is high in saturated fats. Choosing milk that is 2% fat or less allows us to ingest the same nutrients without consuming excessive fat.
So yes, some milk can make you gain weight. Choose lower fat milk products.

3. Most people are allergic to milk

Milk does not cause digestion issues, but some people cannot digest milk. If you get an upset stomach after drinking dairy, avoid it. Most people who get upset after milk don’t have enough lactase enzymes to break down the milk sugar. It is very rare to actually be allergic to milk, which means you cannot digest the milk’s protein, casein. Many people think they are lactose intolerant after eating large amounts of milk or cheese – but large amounts of anything make humans sick.
No, most people are not allergic to milk.


Brown Cows Don’t Make Chocolate Milk: A History of Dairy

Dairy Farming has been an essential element of domestic life for thousands of years, but few of us know how today’s milk cartons went from feral herds to milk cartons on grocery shelves. In fact, according to a survey from the Innovation Center for US Dairy, 7% of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. For context, that’s about 17.3 million people.

Just to make ourselves perfectly clear, brown cows do NOT produce chocolate milk.

So let’s dive into the history of milk.

Around 12,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution began, where nomadic tribes started settling into location dependent communities. At this time, people began to domesticate animals and use by-products like milk. This includes goats, sheep, and cows milk. For a long time, goat and sheep milk were the most commonly consumed because they required less sustenance and could adapt to harsher conditions.

By 500 CE, Nordic and Germanic settlements across Europe bred small dairy herds to support the needs of their villages.  In Europe, around the fourteenth century, cows milk surpassed the popularity of goats and sheep based on the sweeter taste.

The first dairy cows were brought to North America in the early 1600s, as colonies popped up across eastern Canada and the United States.

In the late 1800s, Lois Pasteur invented the first pasteurization tests, which revolutionized the safety of milk. Pasteurization allows for storing and distribution of milk beyond the farm and into the commercial world.  Paired with milk delivery services, individuals no longer needed a cow or two per family, instead, allowing milk production on a larger scale for the first time.

Dairy Farming rose across North America, as needs for protein and other nutrients in somewhat difficult environmental conditions were in high demand. With the invention of pasteurization machines at the turn of the 20th century, the dairy industry skyrocketed.

A lot of those dairy farms actually popped up in Quebec and Labrador, which today still accounts for 37% of milk production in Canada.


Today, cows milk is the most popular kind of milk around the world, especially in North America, Northern Europe, Asia, and Australia. Goats milk is more popular in South America, Southern Asia, and Africa.

Today, we consume approximately 223 billion litres of milk per year.


Canada’s Food Guide and the Dairy Industry

How the CFG Could Change the Dairy Industry

Canada’s Food Guide was first released in 1942 as a tool to help Canadians stay healthy and prevent nutritional deficiencies while under wartime food rations. Over the years, the CFG and its definition of what constitutes a healthy diet – has transformed many times.

The Canadian Food Guide builds its official guidelines through a variety of scientific research, the opinions of medical experts and the most up-to-date studies. As more and more information and studies are produced, the contents of that guide evolve and transform. 

Other factors that have historically influenced the precise contents of the CFG vary from the scarcity of particular foods – such as milk in 1944 – to the direction Canada was taking food production at the time. Industry lobbying and political wrangling provoked mistrust in the 70s and 80s, where many citizens questioned the legitimacy of CFG and how much of it was influenced by Big Food. Back to the 1942 edition, a high emphasis on fats and proteins were incorporated because the government needed to fatten up Canadian soldiers fighting in World War II.

Before now, the last revision of Canada’s Food Guide was released in 2007 – and the 2019 version looks quite different. Many are asking, is today’s guide finally accurate?

The official recommendation encourages:   

  • Fruits and Vegetables (sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, apples, etc)
  • Protein Foods (nuts, beans, meat, fish, eggs)
  • Whole Grain Foods (pasta, rice, quinoa, bread)
  • Water as your drink of choice

There are many different interpretations behind the meaning of this year’s edition. Some are arguing that CFG has completed dismissed the significance of meat and dairy products, and are worried about the implications long-term.

Will meat and dairy have a place in the future of Canadian food?

Some of the facts that need to be considered, begin with noting: Canada’s Food Guide does not discredit meat and dairy products. Instead, it has made room to include plant-based diets. It also has moved away from whole grain foods and sugar high items.

Sugary and fat-heavy diets have caused a shift in Canadian’s health. Obesity rates are at an all-time high in Canada with 64% of Canadians over the age of 18 classified as overweight.

The truth is, a lot of individuals eat far too much fatty meats and excessive amounts of dairy. Balancing plant-based protein consumption with dairy and meat intake can actually have a really good impact on overall energy levels and health. Meat and dairy are not the enemy: overindulgence is.

Food production industries may feel the sting of these changes to Canada’s Food Guide in the coming years – but meat dairy, meat, and refined grains won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Millennials are Changing the Way We Consume

Category : News

In North America, plant-based diets continue to climb as animal products lose popularity – but this doesn’t mean the end of dairy: instead, it demands a shift in the way we approach consumers.  Over 65% of North American consumers are looking for what can be called “better-for-me” items. These include products that are better for the environment, animals, farmers or workers.

The three main reasons people are swerving meat and dairy:

  1. Animal Cruelty
  2. Going Green
  3. Health

With the two biggest reasons circling around environmental and ethical concerns, more and more suppliers are seeing a disparity between industry standards and consumer standards. That means farmers and grocers need to step up. Buzz words like grass-fed, free-range and organic aren’t just for the elite: Millenials are changing the way we eat by prioritizing what they put in their bodies, and how it gets there, despite having lower incomes and less money to spend on eating “right.”  

According to the Organic Trade Association, 52% of organic consumers are millennials. A staggering 40% of millennials are reportedly taking on a plant-based diet. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise: generation x, y, and z are better informed and more educated than their parents. According to a report by Winsight Grocery Business, we’re witnessing “a shift toward a flexitarian diet, or a mostly plant-based diet,” because people are starting to care about where their food comes from. In order to keep consumers interested in dairy products, we need to consider the values of our consumers and cater to those needs. It’s time we see a big shift towards ethical and environmentally sustainable production.


Corporate Responsibility to Waste Free Grocery

Category : News

Canada has been talking about waste-free systems for some time –  but 2019 might actually see impactful change. This year, several huge brands like Proctor & Gamble, Häagen-Dazs and Nestle are repackaging food and grocery items from toothbrushes to ice cream with environmental sustainability in mind. Single use plastic is out. Reusable is in – and can be ordered from certain retailers e-commerce sites. In store purchases are expected to follow shortly after.

But it’s not just big brands in the food industry who are committed to waste free ethics. Nada Grocery is a carefully designed supply chain who boasts “we’re just food, no packaging.” Their concept sells hundreds of food products without single use packaging – instead displaying things from eggs to rice to spices in large barrels and vats, where you can buy whatever amount you need. Customers bring their own reusable containers and cloth or cardboard packaging. Other brands following this model include Soap Dispensary, Tare, Bulk Basket, Nu Grocery and Bare Market.

Other brands are opting for penalty and reward systems much like the Beer Store. Higher deposits encourage consumers to return packaging so it can be reused.

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, behaviours like these are overdue, but a good start nonetheless.

grocery trends 2019

6 Trends in Grocery That Will Have The Biggest Impact in 2019

Category : News

Last year, the grocery space was faced with a number of disruptions that are changing the way consumers think and participate in the industry. With so many complex changes, it’s important to pay attention to these 2019 upcoming trends.

1. Rising prices
A Dalhousie study found the average Canadian household will spend $411 more in 2019 than in 2018, as food prices are projected to rise between 1.5 and 3.5 per cent. Dairy is projected to rise up to 2 per cent, following the USMCA deal that was passed in November. While costs may increase within the first half of the year, projections show dairy prices may start to improve by the second half.

2. E-commerce expansion
Consumers want convenience, and e-commerce speaks directly to that. Grocery e-commerce is growing prominently – just look at Amazon acquiring Whole Foods late last year. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are teaming up with third-party companies to help grow their online reach and convenience factor to consumers, while retailers who’ve built a name online are expanding into brick-and-mortar spaces.

3. Higher demand for delivery
Increasing the delivery options means an overhaul in the way retailers dev6 Trends in Grocery That Will Have The Biggest Impact in 2019elop their infrastructure. As consumers shift their shopping habits to reflect the need for convenience, distributors and retailers will have to adapt by expanding to include prepared foods, complete meals, and meal kits. Monthly grocery subscription boxes are also expected to rise in popularity this year, giving traditional grocers even more to consider.

4. Health trends and natural wellness
As more people are looking for functional foods to fill specific dietary needs, naturally derived wellness additives will continue to grow. Functional foods are a top health trend for 2019, especially in the dairy sector; we’ve already seen a rise in popularity of probiotic dairy, fermented dairy, and lactose-free dairy in 2018, so expect this to continue this year.

5. Diet trends
In the same vein, dietary restrictions are on the rise. A Nielsen study shows the number of people following specific diet plans has increased from 29 per cent in 2016 to 37 per cent in 2018. People are recognizing a trip to the grocery store is just as important as a trip to the gym, and as more consumers are looking to minimize their lactose and gluten intake, products on the shelves will have to reflect this.

6. Ethical buying
According to the same Nielsen study, 63 per cent of global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that employ good ethics and stand for a purpose that aligns with their personal ethos. Consumers are hyper-aware of how their food is sourced and the path it takes to get from farm to table, and studies show companies that have forward-thinking social values and sustainability and environmental practices are more likely to attract shoppers. Especially on the heel of the USMCA deal, Canadian consumers are looking to support their local dairy farmers now more than ever.



fairlife milk Comes To Canada

Category : News

Coca-Cola and fairlife, LLC are excited to bring fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose free milk to Canada!

Coca-Cola announced in June of this year that fairlife would be expanding to the international market for the first time, giving Canadians the first chance at trying the product outside of the US. Coca-Cola is investing $85 million to build a new production facility in Peterborough, Ontario.

Aside from its high quality and rich, creamy taste, fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose free milk is free of artificial growth hormones and has 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than other milk products.

“Introducing fairlife to the Canadian market presents a great opportunity to showcase Ontario dairy farmers’ high-quality milk and animal care practices, which pair well with the premium standards and passion for quality fairlife is known for,” says Graham Lloyd, DFO’s general manager and chief executive officer. “This new initiative will provide significant economic benefits for farmers and the Peterborough community, further showing Canada’s dairy system continues to contribute to the Canadian economy by attracting millions of dollars in processor investments and offering continued and stable growth.”

DairyCentral is proud to be one of the sole distributors of fairlife ultrafiltered, lactose-free milk for the Independent Grocery Marketing in the Greater Toronto region.


The Key Things You Need To Know About The New NAFTA Deal

Category : News

On Sunday, September 30th, Canada and the United States came to a new NAFTA agreement, just hours before the looming deadline for Canada to be included. While the agricultural industry was hoping Trudeau would hold strong, the new deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will most likely hurt Canadian dairy farmers.

Canada has agreed to give the U.S. dairy farmers access to 3.59 per cent of its approximately $16 billion annual domestic dairy market and will eliminate its class 6 and class 7 milk categories and pricing schedules, which the U.S. said priced them out of the Canadian market. The removal will cut prices on some milk ingredients like protein concentrates, skim milk, skim milk proteins and whole milk powder. Plus, while the U.S. is gaining access to Canada’s market, Canada’s access to the U.S. market has decreased.

Doug Ford, Ontario’s Premier, said farmers were being “thrown under the bus” and emphasized the need for federal compensation for any Canadian farmers affected by the new deal, which Trudeau has agreed to.

Some experts are estimating a big disruption in the market for consumers, and others say there might not be a noticeable difference in cost. For the agricultural industry, there are still some key details missing about USMCA, but the general consensus seems to be disapproval. For now, hopefully, Canadian consumers will continue to support Canadian dairy farmers.