For most people, consuming around 2,000 calories each day is recommended to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients to supply our body’s needs for energy, growth, and maintenance. But how we get those 2,000 calories and what nutrients they actually provide can vary widely from person to person. All too often, we may be consuming “empty” calories that give us energy in the form of sugar or excess fat but offer no carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, or minerals.

That food quality concern is at the heart of a global issue that society, and farmers in particular, grapple with as the number of people needing food in the world continues to rise. “It’s not going to be enough to produce enough food. We have to produce enough of the right foods,” said the National Dairy Council’s (NDC) Greg Miller on the August 4 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream. “It’s about not just feeding people. It’s about nourishing people.”

NDC’s Chief Science Officer referenced an estimate from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that states the world will need to produce as much as 70% more food than we currently are in order to feed 10 billion people in 2050. Within that growth, Miller identified that the middle class is expected to triple by 2030. “That’s going to create increased demand for more nutrient-rich foods like meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal-sourced foods,” he said.

The middle class expansion may drive demand for animal-sourced products, but all populations can benefit from the nutrient package that milk and dairy foods deliver. Milk contains 13 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. In fact, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services say dairy is the leading food source for these three nutrients of public health concern. The 100 calories in a glass of whole milk are anything but “empty.”

“It’s worth reminding people that our products are in dietary guidelines worldwide for a reason,” said Judith Bryans, the chief executive of Dairy UK in the United Kingdom. “They’re naturally nutrient-rich foods.”

Bryans specifically pointed to school meal programs as a global method to reduce hunger and malnutrition. The World Food Programme, a branch of the United Nations, recently called school feeding systems the most extensive social safety net in the world because they are reaching more children than ever before in human history. Milk plays a key role in those efforts, and that’s just the beginning of dairy’s place in providing essential nutrients for a global population.

Bryans shared that organizations like FAO are recognizing those important attributes dairy brings to the table and sees a place for the industry in the future of a nourished population. “You couldn’t feed the world without dairy,” she concluded.

To watch the recording of the August 4 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is also available as an audio-only podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.

An ongoing series of events

The next broadcast of DairyLivestream will be on Wednesday, August 18 at 11 a.m. CDT. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here for free. Registering once registers you for all future events.

To comment, email your remarks to
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2021
August 12, 2021
Subscribe to Hoard's Dairyman Intel by clicking the button below