Dairy industry in crisis as teenagers ditch milk

Read Time:   |  8th September 2016

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Industry leaders have warned farmers are facing a crisis as the rise in numbers of people following vegan diets are behind young people losing their taste for milk, cheese and eggs. 


Milk sales are souring as teenagers are shunning cows milk for non-dairy versions like soya and almond milk. And industry leaders have warned farmers are facing a crisis as the rise in popularity of vegan diets thanks to social media are behind young people losing their taste for milk, cheese and eggs.

With a “demographic timebomb” looming, Dairy UK is desperately attempting to raise their sales by backing the biggest drive to boost milk sales. For a three-a-day campaign launched by the Global Dairy Platform will press home the alleged benefits of the white stuff amid reports that children and young people are drinking less milk than their parents and grandparents.

Dairy UK chairman David Dobbin said farmers were facing a big drop in demand for milk as Mintel figures revealed 93% of over 55’s in Britain drink milk compared with 81% of 16 to 34-year-olds. And another encouraging study from Kantar Worldpanel has showed that the younger generation are consuming far less milk than previous generations found the over 65’s drink milk 875 times a year compared with five to 24-year-olds who have a glass just 275 times a year.

Soy beans on a wooden table with a glass of milk on the side

Mr Dobbin told the European Federation of Animal Science in Belfast: “In the past children consumed a lot of dairy, but today’s children and teens don’t necessarily eat it. It’s a demographic time bomb. If we don’t address the problem now, then we are facing a fall-off in demand for dairy.”

And in a sideswipe at vegan diets he added: “The problem we face is that we have some health professionals who see dairy as the enemy. People wrongly assume that dairy is bad for them because of its fat content, without considering the other nutritional benefits it offers. We have to fight that cause and encourage people to eat more.” Dairy UK voiced concerns that the milk glut will get much worse unless the one time must-have on every family menu can be made ‘cool’ again. A Dairy UK spokesperson said the industry was facing “serious issues from anti-dairy groups or plant-based food companies.”

Man chooses dairy products in store

They also added: “When it comes to promoting the benefits and strength of food products, all food sectors should have a robust evidence base, not just trendy claims or health gurus”, bizarrely claiming that “from a nutritional standpoint, the majority of plant-based alternatives do not have the nutrient richness of dairy products.”

However, it seems like they’ll have their work cut out for them as since June 2013, more than 1,000 dairy farms have closed in England and Wales as falling sales sent prices plummeting.

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