Dairy bosses have told the industry to steer clear of engaging with vegan activists - and instead focus on people who are 'wavering' on whether or not to cut down on meat and dairy.
According to NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes, some families are considering ditching or reducing their consumption of animal products following Veganuary - an initiative which encourages people to try a vegan diet throughout January.
The scheme - which was hugely successful this year, with a massive 160,000 people taking part - has been cited by a number of meat industry journals as a cause for concern.
According to Oakes: "There is a whole load of millennials out there with young families who are sitting there wondering whether they should stop eating meat or having dairy in their diet.
"If we lose those, it is worse because we lose their children too."
It is these people - and not vegans - who should be the focus of promotional efforts, he said.
The industry's current promotional initiative is called #Februdairy - the aim of which is 'to inundate Twitter with positive and informative content'.
While the industry has done its best to promote its own practices, the hashtag has been hijacked with vegans, who have used it to share concerns around welfare issues.
According to writer Jonathan Young, writing a piece titled Why I Don't Think Februdairy Will Work for Huffington Post: "No amount of positive tweets can hide the truth of dairy production.
"Like any animal used for food, productivity and profit are far more important than welfare. Genetically selected for high yields and housed in restrictive conditions, they suffer from a range of health issues."
Despite these promotional efforts, a slew of recent stats show that global dairy milk sales are declining in tandem with plant-milk sales increasing.
A report released by research firm Mintel earlier this year claimed milk sales have seen a 61 percent surge since 2012, and are estimated to reach $2.11 billion in 2017.
In addition, overall sales in the dairy milk category have fallen 15 percent since 2012.
Maria is a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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