Raw, Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Food: Teach Your Customers Well – PetProductNews.com

The raw, freeze-dried and dehydrated pet food category is growing, but to convert more consumers, retailers and manufacturers must thoroughly address pet owners’ lack of knowledge about feeding these diets.

By Keith Loria

While the natural raw, freeze-dried and dehydrated food segment is fast growing, the vast majority of pet owners still are unfamiliar with this category or hesitant to give it a try. Pet owners crave information, and they’re looking for partnership, both from the retailers they visit and the brands they invest in. That’s why it’s important for retailers to engage their customers about raw food products and highlight these items in stores.

“Pet parents are transitioning to premium foods and treats, predominantly raw frozen and freeze-dried offerings,” said Lanny Viegut, CEO and owner of Vital Essentials in Green Bay, Wis. “More and more companies are adjusting their strategies and searching for ways to enter and penetrate the category, thus enabling them to cater to this rapidly growing market. Some ‘traditional’ pet food companies are acquiring raw food companies/brands, and others are exploring partnerships with existing raw food companies. There appears to be a sense of urgency for most to create an access point to the raw food category, whether it be frozen or freeze dried.”

In December 2015, Vital Essentials became the first in the raw pet food category in the U.S. to receive the Food Safety System Certification 22000, Viegut said. The company also has earned a superior rating (99.3 percent) from Bureau Veritas, an international food safety audit firm, and recently received European Union certification, permitting the import of its pet products into Europe, he added.

Katie Southard, store manager for Pet Food Center, which has locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, said interest in raw and dehydrated food has definitely climbed over the years.

“We are in the Midwest, so it might be more popular on the coast, but it’s definitely getting more popular [here],” she said. “Before, we carried very minimal raw, and I have boosted that up; dehydrated is something we have added a lot of to our shelves. It’s more pure, more limited ingredient, so customers know exactly what’s going into their foods as opposed to a long list when they don’t know half the words on it.”

The majority of consumers might not have the resources to feed their pets a full raw food diet, but it’s important to help them understand the benefits, said Lindsay Mutschler, owner of Concord Pet Foods & Supplies, which has stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The No. 1 thing customers ask Mutschler about in this category is what the differences are between raw frozen, freeze-dried raw and dehydrated, and what the benefits of each are. That’s why she makes sure she and her staff are up-to-date with the latest news about each product.

“Obviously in most cases this category is very new to the customer, so raw definitely can be intimidating to them,” she said. “They also ask about safety and pricing. Many times it can look on paper like feeding raw, freeze dried or dehydrated is much more expensive, when in reality the benefits to your pet offset the cost a bit.”

“Pet parents are transitioning to premium foods and treats, predominantly raw frozen and freeze-dried offerings,” said Lanny Viegut, CEO and owner of Vital Essentials in Green Bay, Wis. “More and more companies are adjusting their strategies and searching for ways to enter and penetrate the category, thus enabling them to cater to this rapidly growing market.”

New in Raw Pet Food

Gregory Jemal, founder of Five Star Raw and CEO of G Mason Group, based in New York, said pet owners who are considering feeding some form of raw diet to their pets are placing a great priority on giving their pets the best food available with some additional added convenience.

“In light of recent recalls, pet owners also are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of raw diets,” he said. “They’re intrigued by all the stories they’ve heard about the benefits but seek reassurance that they won’t be putting their pet or family in harm’s way.”

The Five Star Raw brand, which is U.S. Department of Agriculture certified and inspected, is still in its first 12 months of business, so its entire line is new, Jemal said, adding that the frozen 1-pound chubs are available in Chicken & Vegetable, Beef & Vegetable, Chicken, Beef & Vegetable, Duck & Vegetable and Turkey & Vegetable varieties.

Eric Emmenegger, senior brand manager for Instinct, a brand of Nature’s Variety in St. Louis, said the company is passionate about continuing to drive the momentum of the frozen and freeze-dried raw categories.

“We see two overriding trends in what consumers are looking for: convenience and tailored offerings,” he said. “Consumers are more aware than ever before of what they’re feeding their pets, and that awareness is driving ever-increasing demand for raw. But they’re also looking for easy ways to incorporate raw that don’t interrupt their current feeding routines. That’s why we continue to expand the Instinct product line with offerings that enable consumers to feed raw frozen in ways that work best for them and their pet.”

In February 2016, the company launched frozen Instinct Raw Boost Mixers as a simple way to add the pure, real nutrition of raw to their pets’ current kibble by mixing or topping, Emmenegger said. 

Merchandising and Display Tips

At Concord Pet Foods & Supplies, the frozen foods obviously are in the freezer, but Nature’s Variety has its own two-door freezer with signage on the front noting the benefits the food provides, Mutschler said.  

“We try not to overdo signage on the freezers because you want people to be able to see inside,” Mutschler said. “As the category has grown, we are now starting to put a second double-door freezer into our store sets so we can expand into other brands.”

As for raw-freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, over the past year, the stores have been working to create a whole section dedicated to these products next to the freezers.

“We have call-out signage where we can, and then all employees are trained on the key things in order to help consumers with their questions,” Mutschler said. 

Recently, Vital Essentials retailers were offered high-quality wooden display racks to showcase Vital Essentials products, resulting in a greater percentage of sales for the stores, Viegut said.

The company’s commitment to educating and supporting pet owners and retail partners is evidenced by raw seminars that are conducted by members of its team and its expert animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton, Viegut added. 

“Web and social media is also leveraged as a vehicle to reach consumers and create awareness of the category,” he said.


This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Pet Product News‘ special supplement, Natural Pet News.

Raleigh Raw's journey from delivery to storefront – N.C. State University Technician Online

Raleigh Raw is one of downtown Raleigh’s newest additions, featuring a menu of raw foods and juices. Nestled in a trendy storefront on Hargett Street, it embraces an industrial feel, complemented by bright, local artwork, bar seating and a hip-hop playlist. Raleigh Raw already has the atmosphere of a well-established, popular hub, where new customers feel like regulars and hosting comes naturally to the owners.

This environment, however, did not come without its fair share of complications. Three years ago, Raleigh Raw was only an idea.

Sherif Fouad, the founder of Raleigh Raw, was exposed to the advantages of raw foods when his father’s cancer diagnosis called for a diet change. Fouad began preparing cold-pressed juices and raw foods for his father, who noticed a vast improvement in his health.

“It’s been really exciting to see the benefits of raw foods firsthand,” Fouad said. “We felt it was important for us to bring that to more people.”

Fouad moved to Raleigh in 2013, when he began working as a bartender. He and his girlfriend, NC State alumna Leslie Woods, began pressing and processing juices from home, which wasn’t a pragmatic operation.

They later received permission to use the bar’s kitchen after closing. Typically, they would work nights at the bar and then press, bottle and deliver juice from 2 a.m. until after 6 a.m.

For two and a half years they continued like this — saving money by taking funds out of their accounts intended for rent and food. 

They sold their product through coffee shops until a mishap with the FDA moved them to an online platform.  

“We had just ordered a pallet of 3,000 bottles; it was our first major order,” Woods said. “As it arrived, and we’re breaking down the pallet and taking the sleeves of bottles one by one to Sherif’s balcony across the road, we get a call from one of the managers at the coffee shop. He goes, ‘Guys, the FDA is here, they have their badges out, they’ve placed an embargo on your product.’”

Essentially, the product couldn’t be sold through more than one retailer for liability complications. Under this pressure, Fouad and Woods developed a commerce-friendly website for local customers in just five days. Truly a mark of the times, they relied on social media as their sole form of marketing throughout their company’s existence.

“Just being [an online] juice company, we were only able to express our brand through that Instagram platform. People weren’t able to meet us in person, we couldn’t talk one-on-one about a product, it was just them getting online and seeing who we were,” Woods said.

In fall of 2014, the duo purchased their first commercial juicer. Soon after, they began distributing and stocking raw juice vending machines. The next step? Finding the perfect location in downtown Raleigh for a complete cafe.

Their search yielded a historical storefront in need of renovation. Unforeseen complications arose during the restoration process, leading to unexpected costs. Woods and Fouad turned to their customers for support, setting up a Kickstarter campaign with an impressive goal: $37,000 in three weeks. Contributions immediately rolled in from friends, friends of friends and strangers, surpassing the initial amount. Three months later, Raleigh Raw held its grand opening.

In addition to cold-pressed juices, the cafe also serves healthy meals for a fast-paced life. The star of the menu is the selection of poké wraps, which are deconstructed sushi rolls. They also serve “crack coffee,” coffee blended with grass-fed butter and coconut oil and Kombucha, a sweet, fermented tea, among other raw drinks.

“We’ve always been more about the experience,” Woods said. “We are not just a juice company, we are a lifestyle brand — we’re selling a lifestyle, not a product.”

Raleigh Raw continues to look forward. Optimally, according to Woods, the cafe will expand to more locations in North Carolina. They hope to develop shelf-stable products for commercial sale. Beyond company-specific goals, Woods wants to share her experiences with others.

“I’d like to go further into the mentoring, speaking and motivating,” Woods said. “Particularly for young women, [to help] get over the fear of going out on their own and doing something different from the norm, doing something that makes your heart sing — and doesn’t necessarily make your parents proud right off the bat.”

Woods said the struggles in the journey to establishing the cafe helped fuel their imagination. 

“Failure allows you to be creative,” Woods said. “It leads you down paths you wouldn’t have chosen conventionally, but it always seems to work out for the better.”

Do’s and Don’ts for Raw Food Diet for Dogs

A raw food diet for dogs is quite different from the commercially produced dog food that you see in the market these days. This type of diet is based on the fact that the food that your dog eats will directly affect the health as well as its behavior. There are certain foods which will have an adverse effect on your dog’s well being but at the same time, there are also many which can promote good health. A raw food diet may be attributed to the belief that since the food being fed is not processed and is natural, the better it is for dogs.

Lean meat, vegetables, and fruits are included as part of the dogs meal in this type of diet. It should be varied so that the dog will not get tired of the taste. A raw food diet for dogs should also have some green and yellow vegetables in it, but there are certain greens which should also be avoided since they would cause gas, such as cabbage. Cucumbers should also be avoided because it might cause indigestion.

Meat on the other hand is an important aspect of the diet. Some owners are a little leery at first when they feed the dogs with raw meat, thus they may cook it slightly at first until the dogs get used to it. After some time, uncooked meat should be given since it is supposed to really be a raw food diet for dogs. Lamb, beef, turkey, duck, and venison may be given to them alternately. As much as possible, a variety of meat should be fed to them since they might develop hypersensitivity if they have the same thing over and over again.

In terms of fruits and vegetables, the raw ones will be good for them. Carrots, for example, contain a lot of vitamin and minerals such as potassium and calcium. Celery sticks can also be given to them because it can relieve symptoms of arthritis and some urinary tract concerns. Alfalfa and zucchini will also be good for them. To add flavor to the foods, spices such as paprika and garlic may also be added. Just make sure that tomatoes, raw beans, cabbage, onions, cucumber, pepper, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are not given to them because it might cause gas or indigestion. A raw food diet for dogs may also include fruits such as mangos, bananas, and apples.

Raw Food Diet Weight Loss Help – TheSequitur.com

Raw food diet is a great way to lose weight. Many people all across the world are adopting a raw diet as they have realized its benefits.

Let us take a look at how raw diet actually works:

Raw food diet comprises of food derived from plants. These contain a lot of fiber and water. Therefore, you cannot over eat raw food even if you want to. Your stomach will get filled up very fast due to the presence of such high amounts of water and fiber. On top of this, the calorie count of raw food is very low. It is much lower than the calorie count of normal diet. Therefore, weight loss is brought about by consumption of raw diet.

It is always better to ear raw food as the nutritional content of raw food is much higher than normal food.

You should never underfeed yourself. It is your duty to give your body sufficient nutrition. The nutrients that are required by the body are required for several purposes. Some of the purposes being:

• cell repair,
• cell growth,
• cell regeneration,
• healing,
• metabolic processes,
• production of hormones and enzymes,
• Fighting against external invaders.

Sometimes we go on eating and eating but we still feel very hungry. Why does this happen? If you consume junk food most of the time, you are depriving your body from the essential nutrients that it requires. Most of the junk foods such as burgers, French fries, pastries contain very high amounts of saturated fats and very low amounts of nutrients. Therefore, the body is getting deprived of the nutrients. The junk that you eat will remain in your body for some hours. After that you will again feel hungry. When people feel hungry, they stuff themselves with more junk such as potato chips; all kinds of fries etc. junk foods are very addictive. Once you eat, you go on eating.

When you are on raw food diet, this does not happen. You feel hungry after a long time. When you do so, you consume healthy food which consists of very low calories.

Some of the ingredients found in raw foods are:

• vitamins,
• minerals,
• enzymes,
• Phytochemicals
• other vital nutrients

The world is inhabited with people who are fat and at the same time undernourished.

Your digestion improves remarkably when you are on a raw diet. The raw food that you consume consists of enzymes. These enzymes get destroyed on cooking. Since the digestion process becomes fast, so does weight loss.

There are plenty of other advantages of going on a raw diet. Several diseases like cardiac diseases, cancer, stomach ailments can be avoided by adopting a raw diet plan. A raw diet plan is also called a raw diet paradox. This is because in this process you eat a lot and lose weight.

Detoxification of the body is brought about raw diet plan. The toxins and other accumulations of the body are eliminated and the system is cleared. Detoxification of the body is important for weight loss.

Stock up on raw food, ethical chocolate and cruelty-free beauty at Cheltenham Vegan Fair – Gloucestershire Echo

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Cheltenham Vegan Fair returns on Saturday, April 16 for it’s second year with a host of caterers and cruelty-free skincare stalls.

From raw food to falafel, chocolate and cakes there will be plenty of tantalising treats.

Whether you are vegan or just curious, there will also be talks on veganism including:

Judy Barber – What’s so important about plant-based nutrition?

Mex Watson – Barry Horne Documentary Trailer

Ronnie Smith – Raw food in the real world

Stalls include Sharaf’s Falafel, Lakeside Ethical Treats, Mex It Up, Raw Happy, Poco Culina, Pomodoro E Basilico, Trishul Chocolates, Flamingo’s Vegan Bakery, Cococaravan and Juiciful Catering.

Other stalls include Neal’s Yard Remedies, Hempish, Nature’s Own, Henna Tattoo’s, Friends Of The Earth, Sea Shepherd UK and Tropic Skincare.

There will also be a kids’ area with face painting.

The event takes place at St Andrew’s Church in Montpellier, Cheltenham, between 10am and 4pm tomorrow. Entry by donation.

Living Food – Jackson Free Press

Anyone who walks by downtown Jackson restaurant Liquid Light Cafe during the day may notice that the lighting is fairly dim, with sunlight spilling in through skylights. Opposite the bar is a pastel-green wall, accented mostly with geometric, brightly colored paintings.

The bar and tables are made from a dark, marble-like material, and most of the chairs are leather with chrome-colored structures. A green couch sits against a purple wall. Paper menus showcasing chef Larry Love’s latest creations, including tomato tartar and falafel, sit at each place setting.

Liquid Light is Jackson’s first raw-food restaurant, nestled in a space beside the Regions Plaza courtyard on Capitol Street.

Love opened the business in Clinton in October 2014 and relocated to downtown Jackson in September 2015. Though he says the concept has been slow to catch on, it’s not stopping him.

He points to Mississippi’s high rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes as a reason Liquid Light should be in a place like Jackson. In 2014, the State of Obesity, a collaborative project between Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reported that the current adult obesity rate in Mississippi is 35.5 percent, which is up from 23.7 percent in 2000 and 15 percent in 1990. The organization places the state at No. 3 among 51 states. For that same year, State of Obesity estimated that 13 percent of adults had diabetes.

“It might appear that it’s quite audacious of us to think that this would be a viable business model in Jackson, Mississippi,” Love says. “We have some relatively good evidence that it is. We aren’t necessarily being overrun by diners. I don’t think we ever expected to. We understood that the growth was going to be slow and organic. We haven’t even bothered to do a grand opening, and we’re not going to do one. We’re not looking to be a flash in the pan.”

Love says he stopped eating beef and pork after reading “Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ with Mother Nature” (Harper and Row Publishers, 1974). A few years later, he stopped eating chicken and fish. Although he can’t remember all the reasons the book compelled him to start his journey as a vegetarian, he recalls Gregory asking readers to imagine a world where turkeys ate human beings.

“That just resonated with me,” Love explains. “That just made sense. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now that there’s something just a little bit arrogant about eating other sentient creatures.”

Around 2005, he read “Nature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet” by Stephen Arlin, David Wolfe, Fouad “R.C.” Dini, Marc Wolfe and Ken Seaney (Maul Brothers Publishing, 2003, $10), which he says resonated with him, too. After that, he began his journey as a raw foodist and then a live-food chef.

A raw-food diet, also called a living-food diet, consists of uncooked, unprocessed, mostly organic foods. The staples include raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and sprouted grains. Love does not allow foods to go above 115 degrees, so while he doesn’t use an oven, he does use kitchen appliances such as a blender, dehydrator or food processor.

“It is very much a way of life,” Rebecca Turner, a registered dietician and the president of the Central Mississippi District of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says. “The people who choose this diet, they can live extremely healthfully and thrive, but it takes a lot of dedication, a lot of thought process into maximizing nutrients from the foods you do choose to eat, but like all lifestyles, there’s not one eating plan that’s right or wrong for anybody, and it’s good to experiment and to try different dishes.”

Turner says that only 5 percent of Mississippians get their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables daily, so she likes the idea of a restaurant like Liquid Light Cafe.

“I think that the biggest things for places such as this to take root here in Mississippi is for Mississippians to expand their palate and to at least go try it,” she says.

Love, who was born in Jackson, says that when he first started on his raw-food diet, he ate salads three times a day, which eventually got old. He can’t recall where he first encountered the idea of being a live-food chef, but he says that when he got to culinary school in Chicago, he knew that he wanted to learn about that type of cooking. He graduated in 2006 from Cousin’s Live Eatery Emporium and Education Center.

He also has a nutrition and wellness consultant certification from American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

While raw food shares some similarities with traditional culinary arts, Love says it is infinitely more labor intensive. For example, in conventional food preparation, if a recipe calls for mayonnaise, a traditional chef would just go get it from the cooler. Live-food chefs have to prepare it themselves.

“What it affords you is, I think, a better understanding of flavor profiles,” Love says. “It tasks you with trying to achieve the same flavor (and) mouth feel that one would experience if the food were cooked.”

Since starting Liquid Light, Love says, the menu hasn’t been consistent, but for some customers, that’s an added bonus.

“We’re increasingly adding new items to the menu,” he says.

The food Love serves, which is all vegan, often consists of deconstructed versions of familiar dishes. For example, the average person may be familiar with the fried version of a falafel or even a baked version, but the raw-food take on the dish is a little different. As opposed to using standard kitchen appliances, he uses a dehydrator to create the menu item. One interesting element of the dish is that the spices are more prominent than the traditional style.

That’s one of the benefits of creating raw-food dishes, Love says. “That’s one of the things that people rave about, even today, that when you eat live food, ‘Well, now I taste the tomato. I taste the basil,'” he says.

Along with his regular menu, Love serves gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free desserts under the moniker The Cheesecake Solution. The primary ingredient in the mocha cheesecake is almond milk, which Love makes himself. He soaks the almonds in alkaline-ionized water for 12 hours to make them more digestible. The soaking also makes the skin easier to peel off. He blends a cup of almonds with three cups of water for five minutes and then strains it to separate the liquids from the solids. The restaurant uses the solids to make almond flour. The cheesecake also contains cashews (they have to be soaked for six to eight hours) and coconut oil.

With the exception of some ingredients such as coconut oil, the restaurant makes most products in-house, and to make sure that it stays almost entirely organic, Love says he will soon grow food for the restaurant on a half acre of land that he owns in Jackson.

“By this time next year, we want to be growing the vast majority of the produce that we use here,” he says. ” … I don’t think you can get much fresher than that.”

He says the restaurant’s objective, along with trying to provide a good dining experience, is to give the area something new to try. “Jackson needs Liquid Light Cafe,” he says. “Jackson needs a Liquid Light Cafe. If you have aspirations of being an ‘international city,’ you have to provide a wide variety of experiences, dining and otherwise.”

Liquid Light Cafe (224 E. Capitol St.) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 4:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner. The restaurant also serves brunch Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 769-208-8689.

Raw Food Diet Secrets – How to Make Homemade Applesauce For You Or Your Baby! – Free Raw Recipe

It’s really not a secret recipe as to how to make homemade applesauce whether it’s for you, your baby, family members or anyone else. The healthiest applesauce is not cooked or canned. It is served raw. Applesauce is naturally sweet but may depend on the type of apples you choose.

The preparation of applesauce is so easy you would think that everyone knows how. But many people are amazed that they’ve never thought of making applesauce without cooking it. Cooking apples damages the enzymes needed for digestion and diminishes the phytonutrients. Vitamin and mineral structure is changed or damaged. So serving applesauce raw or, in other words, living or uncooked, is the best and healthiest way.

First of all you want to choose a sweeter apple such as a Gala or Ginger Gold. You may want to experiment with different types apples and you’ll find there is a wide range of sweetness and tartness to choose from.

But choose organic apples or apples that are grown locally without any pesticides. You don’t want to make chemical-based applesauce. Unfortunately canned applesauce is likely made from chemical-laced apples unless they are labeled organic. Check with your local farms. You can often buy huge boxes of apples for $10.

To make applesauce for one person you only need two large or medium apples. You’ll need to eat it right away so only make a small amount. It’ll turn dark with oxidation if you don’t and still retain some nutrients but it’s best to eat it while it’s fresh.

You’ll need a food processor to make raw applesauce. If you don’t have one you can find them cheaply at garage sales. Purchased new you can get one for less than $30 or so. Or you may be able to borrow one from a friend or relative.

Place two washed organic apples with the peel on in the food processor. Process for about a minute or so. Check often. If you’re making applesauce for a baby you can puree it. If you’re making it for you, a child or other family member you can process it less. At this point you can add some cinnamon if you like for cinnamon applesauce. Or nutmeg or both. Perhaps less than a quarter measuring teaspoon until you decide on the right amount for your taste. You don’t want to add too much.

Really that’s it! Now you know how to make homemade applesauce that’s healthy in just minutes. You, your baby and your family will be healthier because of it. I eat it for breakfast every morning and it’s great for a healthy snack. Kids love it for breakfast or after school. If you’re in a rush at breakfast, it’s a good and fast way to get two apples in before or on your way to work or school.

Milk Jumps Onto the Small-Batch Bandwagon – New York Times

But those who attest to the small dairies’ new popularity say a key factor is nostalgia.

Manhattan Milk, a small distributor in New York City, evokes the days of the milkman, delivering glass bottles of grass-fed, organic milk from dairies in the region to doorsteps as far away as Greenwich, Conn. At 1871, Mr. Pyykkonen said his plans include delivering bottles throughout Chicago by bicycle.

For Mr. Pyykkonen, a former employee-benefits consultant with no food background, the motivation to enter the milk business was personal. When his eldest daughter was moving from breast to cow’s milk about eight years ago, he and his wife began paying more attention to dairy labels. Among the limited options in supermarkets, they were struck by what they thought was a lack of transparency about the milk’s origin or method of production.

The research became enough of an obsession that Mr. Pyykkonen left his job and dived into the subject headfirst through books and farm visits. He named his company 1871 Dairy, a reference to the year of the Great Chicago Fire and the debunked legend that it was started by a skittish cow. By the summer of 2015, he had bought 12 cows of Jersey, Guernsey and Holstein-Friesian breeds, which are fed an all-grass diet. (The milk is not entirely local, though, as they graze about 300 miles from the city, in Wisconsin.)

The dairy pasteurizes the raw milk at 145 degrees, a lower temperature than at many commercial processors, which helps retain its healthful enzymes. The milk is sold at farmers’ markets and several high-end grocers in Chicago, and as with many small-scale food products, the sticker price makes it largely a niche product. At $7 a half-gallon, it is about three times as expensive as most supermarket milk — though it also has a mouthfeel as luscious as evaporated milk and a sumptuously sweet finish.

His customers, Mr. Pyykkonen learned, want more than the word organic slapped on a label; they want the satisfaction of knowing the milk was made close to home, in small batches rather than industrial vats.

In East Homer, N.Y., a half-hour drive south of Syracuse, a small dairy called Trinity Valley began bottling its own products in 2014 in addition to selling its raw milk to larger commercial processors. Branden Brown, who runs the farm with his wife, Rebekah, and her parents, Ken and Sue Poole, said they were losing money after several years of record low prices, and saw the chance to charge more for premium products.

“In this day and age, with the milk market so volatile, farmers have three options: You get a niche and process your own milk, you get bigger, or you get out of dairy farming,” said Mr. Brown, 26.


Branden Brown is an owner of Trinity Valley Dairy in East Homer, N.Y. “You get a niche and process your own milk, you get bigger, or you get out of dairy farming,” he said.

Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

Trinity Valley became its own middleman in 2014, converting the cornfield across the road into a processing plant and retail shop. At first, it bottled 150 gallons a week each of chocolate and white nonhomogenized milk. (A layer of cream remains on top; the dairy also pasteurizes at 145 degrees.) In two years, the dairy has increased its output to 1,600 gallons a week from 300 gallons, supplying milk to Central New York hospitals, theaters and grocers.

“If we did this five or 10 years ago,” Mr. Brown said, “I don’t think the buy-local movement would have been as strong as it is now to keep us and other dairies sustainable.”

The industry’s lag in jumping on the locavore bandwagon is something the trade group Dairy Management concedes is a marketing opportunity lost. Alan Reed, its executive vice president for strategy and external innovation, said one way to catch up is to shine a spotlight on the farmers who produce the milk.

“The story about cow care, or reinvestment in local communities, can be told by so many dairy farmers across the country,” Mr. Reed said. “We’re good at efficiently packaging in a white gallon jug, but the business is going elsewhere, so we must innovate.”


Gallons of milk at the Trinity Valley farm store.

Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

Joe Miller, the marketing director at Trickling Springs Creamery, a small dairy in Chambersburg, Pa., said one thing that accelerated his company’s growth in the last four years was a brand face-lift: On its organic ice creams, labels now feature photos from six of the farms where the milk originated. On the success of that campaign, the dairy will unveil a similar redesign for its milk labels this spring.

“Customers want to learn the story behind the food to see if it’s the values they hold,” Mr. Miller said. “The more you open the door for them to see behind the scenes, the more comfortable they feel with your product.”

In the same way that chefs have leveraged television and social media, Mr. Pyykkonen hopes dairy farmers and milk processors can become well-known brands — or at least less anonymous.

“Dairy farmers just haven’t been asked to tell their stories,” he said.

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