Dairy In Decline: 23% Of Brits Now Use Plant-Based Milk

'With volume sales of cow's milk already on a downward trend, the fact that more young consumers are turning away from these products does not bode well for this segment's prospects in the long-term'
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Cow's milk consumption is dipping (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

More Brits are using plant-based milk as demand for cow's milk continues to decline, according to new data.

The report, by Mintel, says 23 percent of people polled had used plant-based milk alternatives in the three months to February 2019. This was up from 19 percent in 2018 - with a marked shift among women and those under-25.

Concerns around ethics, health, and the environment, all part of the 'much wider plant-based movement' were cited by Mintel as reasons plant-based milk is becoming mainstream.

Cow's milk

Cow's milk still made up the bulk of milk sales in 2018 (96 percent), but its use is falling - especially among 16-24-year-olds - whose usage declined from 79 percent in 2018 to 73 percent in 2019.

This age group cited health reasons for their conscious decision in reducing their dairy intake (37 percent), and environmental concerns (36 percent agree dairy farming has a negative impact on the environment).

The product is most popular among older consumers, with its use peaking at 92 percent among over-45s.

World Plant Milk Day

World Plant Milk Day arrives next month (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Mainstream

"Plant-based milk alternatives continue to make further inroads into the mainstream, with high levels of innovation activity such as the entrance of Innocent Drinks to the market in 2018," Emma Clifford, Associate Director of UK Food and Drink at Mintel, said.

"Growth in this segment forms part of a much wider plant-based movement, driven by concerns around health, ethics and the environment, as well as by consumers' love of variety in their diets.

"The shift towards the higher-priced plant-based alternatives will carry on, helping to add value to the market overall. Consumer interest in advice on how these alternatives suit different usage occasions signals marked potential to boost usage among current users and non-users alike.

"With volume sales of cow's milk already on a downward trend, the fact that more young consumers are turning away from these products does not bode well for this segment's prospects in the long-term. Efforts from the industry to remind young consumers of the benefits of using cow's milk, and dairy more widely, for example in terms of health, are needed."

World Plant Milk Day

This report arrives in the run-up to World Plant Milk Day (WPMD), an international day that celebrates plant-based alternatives to dairy milk.

Founded by Plant Based News in 2017 and established as a partnership with ProVeg in 2018, the campaign has attracted the attention of millions of people around the world and helped to accelerate the transition from dairy milk to the rich variety of plant-based alternatives.

As part of the day, you can sign-up to take part in the 7-day dairy-free challenge, which offers support and information about ditching cow's milk products.

You can find out more about World Plant Milk Day here