Due to a number of factors, from modern developments to COVID-19 to several others, today’s consumers are more proactive about their health than perhaps at any other time in recent history. In addition to limiting or eliminating certain parts of a diet or lifestyle, many people are paying more attention to the addition of various nutrients and beneficial substances — and the world of dairy manufacturing is a great example of this trend.
At Idaho Milk Products, we’re proud to provide a variety of milk permeate, milk proteins and related dairy products for various applications including healthcare nutrition, enteral nutrition and a number of others. Our milk proteins are manufactured using ultra and dia-filtration of skim milk and they contain all proteins naturally found in milk in their native state, with no modifications. This not only improves flavor but also increases the number of beneficial nutrients and related themes that are passed on to consumers.
A related theme that goes hand-in-hand with a proactive approach to health: Sustainability. How do we and other dairy manufacturers combine these two concepts in progressive, forward-thinking ways to benefit our consumers? Here’s a primer.
Starts at the Farm Level
Implementing real change means starting at the source and that’s precisely what’s happened across many parts of the dairy manufacturing world in recent years — and what’s continuing to happen moving forward. There are many ways dairy farmers can be outfitted with the right tools to operate not only intelligently, but also sustainably.
Consider water management, for instance, which plays a huge role in everything from the animals themselves to the surrounding environment. Optimized water management will reduce waste and allows for the need of less water to be used, which also cuts down on costs. Add in some improvements to irrigation systems and even dairies are looking more sustainable than ever before. And best of all, optimized water management leads to animals that are healthier and producing dairy with a greater quantity of positive nutrients.
And water consumption is just one form of resource consumption that farms can optimize. Farmers are also being exposed to forms of clean energy, from solar power to wind turbines. Many farmers, like our owner-dairies, are taking advantage of advances in anaerobic digesters, which turn methane gas found in manure into a valuable renewable energy source. The end result of these changes is a more efficient, less costly operation that’s also very sustainable.
Another major benefit to the cycle here: Additional income coming back to farmers, which allows them to re-invest in their operations, which drives further innovation and additional sustainability. In other words, a circle of good news for all involved.
A More Connected Supply Chain
The supply chain is another area of the dairy manufacturing and consumption world where both health and sustainability have been improving in major ways recently. Technology plays a major role in this shift, allowing for tracking of product and health data from the farm outward.
For instance, technology can be used to monitor biodiversity data at the farm where dairy is being produced. Based on this information, metrics like gas emissions, ammonia emissions, nitrogen balance in the soil and several others give farmers excellent, detailed feedback on how they’re doing, both from a sustainability standpoint and in terms of the health and nutritional qualities of their products.
In addition, the use of this technology can continue once products leave the farm. It can allow for precise tracking of product weights, for example, ensuring fuel efficiency and therefore sustainability of the transport process.
There are also some other supply chain-related areas that don’t necessarily relate specifically to modern tracking. For instance, many in the dairy transportation world have begun to utilize sustainable fuel sources for trucks and other transportation vehicles, as well as transitioning to ultra-low sulfur diesel. Simply cutting back on CO2 emissions during the transportation process can greatly reduce a dairy product’s carbon footprint and is one of the best ways to proactively improve sustainability.
These shifts are already well underway in the dairy manufacturing industry, and you shouldn’t expect them to slow down anytime soon. In fact, those in this sector are advised to consider investing even greater resources and consideration into how to integrate both sustainability and proactive health themes into their practices.
One major theme to keep in mind here is the realm of partnerships, including upstream, downstream and horizontal partnerships. For instance, partnering with a quality dairy manufacturer like Idaho Milk Products allows businesses to leverage many of the insights we’ve developed in terms of sustainability in a way that helps them further realize the benefits in their industry.
A key theme here is becoming “circular” in your processes, improving efficiency and practices in several different connected areas to accomplish far more than any one individual entity can accomplish on a linear path. From the farm itself to the supply chain and even to products’ final destinations, considering how to become more efficient and sustainable can show major benefits in multiple areas.
For more on the combination of sustainability and proactive health themes in the dairy manufacturing world, or to learn about any of our milk protein manufacturing services or products, speak to the team at Idaho Milk Products today.