Cow’s milk was once a standard staple in every home and considered healthy and nutritious, providing people with calcium to build strong bones. However, extensive research in recent years has shown that cow’s milk is not nearly as beneficial as once thought. Often ladened with hormones and antibiotics, as well as pus from overly-milked cows, large-scale industrialized dairy is also guilty of extreme animal cruelty and is directly connected with the harsh veal industry that is fueled by calves born on dairy farms. As consumers have become increasingly aware of these serious issues, there has been a significant shift away from traditional dairy towards dairy-free milk alternatives. Additionally, since people do not naturally consume other animals’ milk, lactose intolerance has caused many others to ditch dairy. And now a new report suggests that if dairy companies want to stay competitive, they need to follow the business models of plant-based milk brands.

This shift towards plant-based milk has been so widespread that many long-standing dairy operations have shut down dairy plants and made the (successful) switch to the production of plant-based dairy alternatives. The new report written by RaboResearch suggests that this type of switch by dairy operations is a wise financial decision, as dairy-free milk brought in sales valued at $15.6 billion in 2017, according to Euromonitor. Additionally, global retail sales for dairy alternatives has grown at an annual rate of 8 percent over the last 10 years.

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RaboResearch also suggests that if dairy companies wish to stay relevant, they must cater to conscious consumers who have health, sustainability, and animal welfare concerns. Tom Bailey, RaboResearch Senior Analyst — Dairy, stated, “Global demand for dairy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent for years to come, with demand for non-fluid categories offsetting weak fluid milk sales … While it’s not essential to diversify into dairy alternatives, it would be wise for the dairy industry to at least learn one thing from the success of dairy alternatives, which may be putting the consumer first and trading in the old grass-to-glass model for glass-to-grass.

The report, titled Dare Not to Dairy — What the Rise of Dairy-Free Means for Dairy… and How the Industry Can Respond, can be read in its entirety here.

Want to learn more about how ditching dairy (and meat and eggs) can help heal the world? Check out the Eat for the Planet book!

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