Farmers at a major dairy industry conference have been told they must counter every anti-dairy message with five positive ones - in order to overcome growing criticism.
Speaking at the annual Semex Dairy Conference, Livestock Sustainability Consultant Dr. Judith Capper said that while vegans make up a small percentage of the population, they are 'loud'.
The message among conference attendees was that young people - who are increasingly ditching dairy due to health, ethical, and sustainability concerns - should be targeted with the positive message.
Dr. Capper believes the industry needs to share the message with people who don't have strong opinions on animal agriculture.
She said: "We are not going to change them into becoming happy meat and milk eating people any more than they are going to change us into vegetarians and vegans."
PBN looks at how the dairy industry has tried to attack plant milk
The industry's desire to fight the vegan message follows reports that the global plant milk market is set to top $16.3 billion dollars this year - up dramatically from $7.4 billion in 2010 - according to Innova Market Insights.
According to the market research company, there are a number of reasons consumers are turning away from dairy, towards plant milk options.
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."