Well, the times are certainly a-changin’! New research from Cargill, the largest privately held food and agriculture company in the world, shows that 50 percent of U.S. consumers who drink milk ALSO consume plant-based dairy alternatives. Cargill conducted the survey in 13 countries and presented the results at the Natural Products Expo West trade show this past March.
The survey focused on the most popular types of dairy/non-dairy products U.S. adults buy: yogurt, flavored milk, ice cream, and dairy alternatives. The survey asked consumers whether or not they consume dairy products, in comparison to if they consume non-dairy products.
The U.S. results are based on a survey population of 840 adults and found that of that sample size, 50 percent of respondents said they “either consume both dairy and dairy-alternative products or that they prefer dairy alternatives but will still also consume real-dairy products.” 12 percent of the respondents considered themselves “true dairy avoiders” and up to 20 percent said they avoid dairy specifically because of animal welfare concerns. Not surprisingly, 35 percent of the respondents shared how they avoided dairy products because they are lactose intolerant (about 75 percent of people around the world are lactose intolerant).
As far as which dairy-free alternative consumers liked the best, the survey showed that almond products take the lead with 80 percent preference (almond milk sales have increased by 250 percent from 2000-2015 to almost $895 million!), followed by coconut at 59 percent, and soy at 50 percent. Other recent research from Comax Flavors shows that 36 percent of shoppers choose plant-based milk specifically because of the health benefits. And in more promising news, conventional organic milk sales have been slipping!
Food Dive shares that non-dairy milk sales in the U.S. have increased by 61 percent in just the past five years and reached an estimated $2.11 billion in 2017! Many dairy producers have noticed how trends are going towards plant-based options and have started to invest in dairy alternative companies, for instance, how Dean Foods invested in Good Karma Foods. We can’t help but wonder if Cargill is getting ready to invest in yet another plant-based company, especially since they just recently teamed up with North America’s largest pea protein producer!
Want to learn more about how the plant-based milk space is beating out cow’s milk? Check out this recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias featuring Adam Lowry, CEO of Ripple Milk.
For more information on the impact of our food choices on the planet, check out the #EatForThePlanet book!
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