Dairy Forum 2022 Opens in California

Demand for U.S. dairy products in the United States and around the world has never been higher, but significant supply chain and workforce issues threaten to limit the ability of the dairy industry to capitalize on this record demand. It is under these circumstances that the dairy industry’s top executives and thought leaders are meeting this week for Dairy Forum 2022, an annual conference hosted by the International Dairy Foods Association. IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes says that these current headwinds will be top of mind at Dairy Forum.

“2020 and 2021 are two of the strongest years on record for dairy sales. We saw per-capita dairy consumption set another record last year, and both retail and foodservice sales for dairy remain above pre-COVID levels in 2021. Our industry hasn’t missed a beat to invest in growth, harness digital transformation in our manufacturing facilities, and position dairy as sustainable and healthy for consumers everywhere. We’re so pleased to have a number of sessions at this year’s Dairy Forum featuring executives from some of the most innovative dairy companies around the world, the director of the port of Los Angeles, and experts from McKinsey & Company to inspire our dairy leaders to push our industry toward our ultimate goal of being the world’s dominant dairy supplier.” 

Dairy Forum’s theme this year is: NEW. NOW. NEXT. Dykes says that the dairy industry convenes each year at the event to gain new ideas and fresh perspective, to examine the current lay of the land for dairy, and to inspire leaders to chase what’s next for the industry.

“What’s great about IDFA’s Dairy Forum is that it forces us to look beyond the day-to-day ups and downs of the market or disruptions in the supply chain. We have much larger questions looming for our industry. Is U.S. dairy built to compete in health and wellness categories? Are we doing enough to lead on sustainability? Are we innovating products and processes alike? How will we unite around a pricing model that make us more competitive and supports growth? What programs do we need to attract and retain the very best talent for our industry? We have a lot of short-term issues pulling at our coattails at the moment, but these are the larger, more longer-term strategic questions we need to ask ourselves.” 

Dykes says that he is optimistic that the dairy industry will overcome both current and long-term challenges through a mix of innovation and collaboration.

“With a united dairy industry, with the right investments and with a collective mindset of winning the future, all segments of the dairy supply chain will continue to prosper. That’s my message for Dairy Forum. Today, consumers are demanding dairy in so many different formats, from new drinkables to skyrocketing demand for cheese, to recapturing love for ice cream and butter. The next step for dairy is to harness innovation throughout the supply chain, lead with sustainability, and create a diverse and inclusive workforce that helps us win the future. I’m confident that our industry will unite to become the world’s dominant dairy supplier known for quality, affordability, sustainability, and reliability.” 

Dairy Forum 2022 kicked off Sunday, January 23 and runs through until Wednesday. Learn how to live stream Michael Dykes’s speech and other top sessions from the event at DairyForum.com.