Agriculture, Food & Nutrition, People, Prosperity, Americas, Europe

Five ways technology is transforming the dairy industry

Responsible Business | Mar 14, 2019


With changing consumer desires and multiple fore-coming trends, constant innovation is required to ensure success is maintained in the dairy industry. Around the world, dairy foods provide many essential nutrients, including high-quality protein; they are also accessible, convenient and affordable. Sustainable production, processing and consumption of milk and dairy products benefit people and the planet, and can help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Facts about dairy industry:

  • Feeding dairy cows, sheep, goats and buffaloes requires around 1 billion ha of land, or 7% of total land on earth
  • Overall, about 240 million people are likely to be directly or indirectly employed in the dairy sector
  • World milk production is projected to increase by 177 million tonnes by 2025
  • Milk and dairy products account for about 14% of global agricultural trade

Below you will find 5 ways technology is changing the dairy industry:

1. Introducing the farms of the future

Photo credit: Pixabay

New technologies and the ‘datafication’ of agriculture are providing farmers with the potential to obtain key information with the click of a button.

This quantifiable information can be used to continuously measure and monitor farm operations and react accordingly. Various smartphone data applications, robotics drones, micro-sensor technology and satellite systems are all likely to become customary on the farms of the future. Farmers who can balance these technologies with appropriate operational and commercial processes could see profits rise significantly.

2. Increase in consumption and customer engagement

Photo credit: Pexels

A number of trends such as the growth of a healthy snacking culture, higher food consumption outside of the home are changing the way food is being bought and consumed.

Companies must be able to communicate a holistic approach to consumers and influence the dialogue around their products. Soaring device ownership, fully-fledged social networks and the abundance of information at consumers’ fingertips means that consumers are more enabled than ever before. The ability to navigate this new online landscape will be crucial for the continual growth of businesses in the dairy industry.

3. Milking the data

Photo credit: Pexels

Today data can be recorded at any point in the process from when milk was produced on the farm all the way up to the time the milk bottle is on the store shelf.

Because of this, producers now have a clearer understanding of how they can adjust their production processes (where to produce, when, how much). Not only that, it also provides some indirect insights into additional industries, via more powerful forecasting models—ones that are backed by specific and traceable figures.

4. Transparency is paramount

Photo credit: Pixabay

Consumers are looking for brands that share transparency to the product, as well as reflect their own personal values.

Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly prominent because it’s a decentralized way for many users to share to and connect data in real time. This ensures transparency, especially for those who want to see the data to certify anything that the data represents. Dairy is ideal for blockchain technology because of the amount of data collected at each point of the supply chain, starting at the herd level.

5. Customization of dairy products

Photo credit: Unsplash

Moving forward, companies will need to create expert tailor-made solutions to clients based on their needs.

New tech innovations, such as ‘Industry 4.0’ will allow for the customization of consumer and industrial products to meet market demand, made possible via flexible, highly connected and intelligence-led manufacturing processes. This will result in massive changes in waste reduction, more efficiency and only producing what you need to produce because of the available data, and transparency across the supply chain.

The 6th Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture will convene in Bangkok, Thailand on 26 –27 March 2019 featuring over 400 food, agriculture and nutrition decision- makers from companies, governments, investors, NGOs and farmers, to discuss innovation in value chains for food and nutrition security.


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