Université Laval’s Dairy Science and Technology Research Centre (STELA), a member of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), held its colloquium on May 29–30. The lectures and scientific poster sessions explored the increasingly competitive landscape of the dairy production and processing industries in Canada, France, and the United States in the age of globalization. We were there. Here are the highlights.

Nearly 30 international speakers took the floor to address current trends and share the results of their research on issues affecting the dairy industry, including geopolitical upheavals, the dairy sector’s economic situation, the latest shifts in consumer trends, and others. 

Presented to an audience of dairy producers, dairy processors, and scientists, the lectures given by researchers and graduate students were often very technical, with highly specialized language. But it was clear that environmental and nutritional health were central to their research. 

First on the agenda were the economic and qualitative aspects of milk. Next, the focus turned to fermented dairy products. Regarding health, the speakers were unanimous in their support of the health benefits provided by dairy products (and fermented products in particular). Yogurt is nutritionally dense, improves digestive health, and is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and energy. An important point was raised in that regard, namely: “Given their health benefits, why aren’t fermented foods in the Canada Food Guide?”

A number of specialists confirmed the growing popularity of fermented dairy products such as yogurt in Canada, which has seen a 204% increase in consumption since 1996. This is bound to lead to an imbalance and have a negative impact on the environment if the industry’s current processes remain unchanged. But studies are underway to develop innovative processes that would make the dairy products sector more eco-efficient and reduce its ecological footprint. 

The scientific poster session and lecture Q&A periods enlivened the colloquium. The issues raised will certainly pave the way for further research in the field, and the industry seems ready to innovate in order to tackle current challenges, promote the health benefits of dairy products, and reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

Sources

Centre STELA . http://www.inaf.ulaval.ca/recherche-et-expertise/centre-stela/#.WTqTMhM19Bw.

INAF . http://www.inaf.ulaval.ca/.

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