Many dairy manufacturers have added non-dairy products to their portfolios, in order to keep up with consumer demand for plant-based options. However, that doesn’t mean dairy should be discounted. According to research firm Mordor Intelligence, the dairy packaging sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.61% from 2019 through 2024.

The research in the report looked at milk, yogurt and cheese. Healthy snacking is one factor of growth. Portion-controlled products like Mini Babybel cheese, ice cream in single-serve cups and yogurt with new toppings, flavors and packaging type can be seen in the dairy case.

In the past few years, consumption of dairy products in the United States has increased, especially cheeses like parmesan, provolone and mozzarella, which is likely to boost the dairy packaging market in the country.

More sustainable packaging options for the segment is also pushing growth, such as the popularity of yogurt in PET bottles.

One company that has made waves recently is Honest Dairy (Guongzhou, China).  The brand worked with Noluma International LLC, a light protection technology specialist, to certify its Body Knows probiotic yogurt. The rigid plastic bottles with the technology protects the product’s nutrients and taste and extends shelf-life from 18 to 21 days.

Noluma uses a known marker ingredient in the contents of a test package, exposing it to intense light that replicates two weeks of exposure in just two hours. This testing allows manufacturers to better understand the vulnerabilities of their packaging.

With regard to milk, there are challenges that vendors face for the shelf-life of the product. Milk has been traded globally as milk powder and processed milk due to storage concerns. Currently, liquid milk in a bottle has a shelf-life between 10 to 21 days when stored at 4-8˚C. With the UHT (ultra-high temperature) treatment of milk, the shelf life is extended up to one year, without refrigeration.

One way to attract consumers is with new, bold packaging enveloping fresh flavors. Graeter’s Ice Cream did just this to celebrate the company’s upcoming 150th year in 2020. The family owned ice-cream maker unveiled a new design on its pint cartons. Flavors include Salted Caramel, Oregon Strawberry, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Cookies & Cream. By early 2020, all Graeter’s flavors will be packaged in the new design.

The packaging design takes cues from the ingredients inside, with larger images and darker background, moving from the typical white cartons seen in the freezer. The luxury look is complete with the Graeter’s logo in a cursive font with flavors using the same.