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Due to plummeting demand for dairy milk, 52 New York dairy farms have lost their wholesale contracts and have no one lined up to buy their milk beginning this July.

As CBS New York notes, the average American drinks 37 percent less milk now than they did in 1970. This can be credited to a few things. Of course, many opt for milk alternatives for environmental or health reasons, but since humans do not naturally consume milk after childhood, let alone another animal’s milk, lactose intolerance has also caused countless consumers to ditch dairy. With milk alternatives filling up supermarket shelves, made from everything from cashews, coconuts, peas, rice, oats, hazelnuts, hemp, flax, macadamia nuts, and of course, soy and almond, ditching dairy milk has never been easier. The rise in demand for milk alternatives is so high that the global dairy-free milk market is expected to reach $14.4 billion by 2020. Talk about an incentive for these dairy farmers to make a switch to plant-based milks!

Although there can be sympathy brought about for the families who have relied on these dairy farms for their livelihood, it must be noted that there have been a number of dairy farms who have successfully switched over to growing crops like almonds and producing plant-based milk alternatives instead of dairy. As this latest news proves, conscious consumerism is taking over and making changes in the market. All wise businesspeople know to adjust according to market demand (heck, even meat giants Tyson and Cargill have invested in lab-grown meat, recognizing that the future of food is rapidly changing) and if these dairy farmers want to stay afloat, perhaps it would be of benefit to them to begin turning their dairy farms into plant-based farms that will match consumer demand and lead to improved sales for themselves.

To learn more about how our future is directly tied to our food choices, be sure to check out the Eat for the Planet book!

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