Dairy foods are a core and cherished part of the American diet. Even as non-dairy alternatives expand into new territories, so do the animal milk-based originals, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report 2017 Forecast: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.

Packaged Facts forecasts that in the months and years ahead, consumers will gravitate to products that display the wholesome characteristics of dairy, such as cultures and connections to animal welfare and farming traditions—elements that point to safety, nutrition, and sustainable food production.

Consumers will also continue snacking on dairy foods that provide protein, calcium, and probiotics to promote good health. To that end, more savory options will beckon from the dairy case, calling out to be eaten at any time of day and to be paired with salads, sandwiches, meat snacks, and savory munchies. Packaging promoting portability and portion control will make our busy lives easier, and allow for more convenient access to these healthful dairy foods.

With increased consumption also comes a broader array of flavors and styles of dairy foods, meeting today's mandatory call for flavor adventure in every daypart, from breakfast to snacking, treating to entertaining.

On that note, here are five of Packaged Facts' key insights for inspiring consumers when purchasing and cooking with dairy:

• Leverage dairy foods' heritage to connect with consumers seeking traditional, old-fashioned and authentic-feeling experiences with full-fat cultured dairy.

• Explore more savory flavors for dairy products that are positioned and packaged for snacking or mini-meals.

• Support consumers' seeking to experiment in the kitchen with flavored butter or cheese with recipe resources, video clip series. Culinary experts as educators, like celebrity chefs or popular cooking authorities, will inspire consumers.

• More foods are going portable to be eaten away from home; what products can be packaged for easy access, grab and go, or airline travel? Three-ounce package sizes of cheese, cottage cheese or skyr are great for planes.

• Dairy foods add a wholesome and nutritious angle when baked or cooked into other foods. For instance, call out the notable dairy additions loud and clear in sweet baked goods, cookies, snack cakes and bread. Name farms or regions of sources, and indicate nutrients from dairy ingredients.

Learn more about the report.