A recent update from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that dairy milk consumption continues to decline - falling 25% from 1996 to 2016.
The US decreased it's yearly per-capita dairy milk consumption from 205 pounds to 154 pounds over the 20-year period.
Dairy milk sales have fallen to such a low level, it may be impossible to curb the decline, said Tom Gallagher, chief executive of Dairy Management Inc., a national organization that promotes dairy products and is funded by dairy farmers:
“The numbers are devastating. At some point, [dairy] milk could become an irrelevant beverage for the average consumer.”
The US dairy industry has no intentions of vanishing without a fight - they're currently in the midst of a $500 million campaign to try and persuade consumers to purchase cow milk.
What terrifies the dairy industry is that they’ve got no way to compete — the taste and nutrition of vegan milks can be far superior to cows’ milk, and the costs of production (since there’s no animal care, feed or waste involved) can be much lower.
Meanwhile plant milks continue to rise rapidly in popularity and gain widespread approval with the global plant-milk market set to top a staggering $16 billion in 2018 according to new data from Innova Market Insights, and projected to rise to $21.7 billion by 2022.
Due to the increasing popularity of plant-based milks, Starbucks recently launched Almond Milk in the UK and sports supplement company Muscle Milk recently launched a line of vegan protein shakes, with more people are ditching whey for plant-based protein powders than ever before.
Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, said:
"The dairy alternatives market has seen rising levels of interest in recent years, spurred mainly by consumers increasingly looking for lactose-free, dairy-free and plant-based/vegan options as healthy lifestyle choices, rather than regarding them as simply for those with allergies or intolerances.
With the negative health effects of consuming dairy becoming more well known we will continue to see dairy decline, especially as these days it's so easy to replace dairy in our diets.
More people than ever before are choosing plant-based milks, whey-free plant-based protein powders, and are taking steps to eliminate dairy completely from their diets.
There is now a wide variety of plant-based milks available that are not only healthier than cow milk, but tastier, better for the environment and cruelty-free. The dairy industry is desperately trying to fight back as consumers become more aware of the barbaric dairy industry practices.
And it's not just individuals that are shifting away from dairy, but large companies are ditching dairy to make way for high quality products like nut, soy, rice and hemp milks, and restaurants, cafes and even ice cream parlours are also ditching dairy.
Switching to a plant-based milk is easy and healthier, with plant-based milks generally having a lower fat content, no cholesterol and no hormones.
Recently the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK also banned an advert for organic cow's milk which attempted to label itself as “good for the land” and ruled the advert as "misleading" since dairy production is terrible for the environment.
Another advert from a vegan group that labelled milk as "inhumane" was described as "accurate" by the same authority. These rulings from the completely impartial Advertising Standards Authority further validates the ethical and environmental concerns around the production of dairy products.
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