Dairy consumption is declining in the UK. New research shows around a quarter of British people now drink vegan milk.
Market research firm Mintel surveyed 2,000 people in the UK to learn more about their beverage preferences and habits. It found that plant-based milk — like oat, almond, cashew, coconut, and soy — is more sought after than ever. Sales of dairy-free milk have increased by 10 percent in the last two years.
Oat milk volume sales grew 71 percent between 2017 and 2018. Coconut went up by 16 percent in the same period and almond milk increased by 10 percent.
Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of those surveyed said they had used vegan milk in the three months leading up to February. This is up from 19 percent in 2018.
Young adults lean toward dairy-free the most; a third (33%) of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer vegan milk over cow’s milk.
People are eager to know more about dairy-free products. Sixty-five percent of plant-based milk users would like advice on how to use vegan milk and dairy-free cream in cooking and baking, with 24 percent of non-users also being interested in receiving these tips.
The Decline of Dairy
Multiple factors are inspiring people to drop dairy from their diets. Thirty-seven percent of 16 to 24-year-olds have reduced their dairy intake for health reasons, Mintel said. This same age group is most likely (36 percent) to agree that the dairy industry has a negative impact on the environment.
Emma Clifford, Associate Director of UK Food and Drink, said in a statement, “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.”
People are also making purchases based on ethics. Sustainable farming was a topic of interest for many and one in seven people who buy cow’s milk said they would be interested in products that stated on their packaging how many days the animal had spent outside.
Taste also played a role. Mintel found that 21 percent of Brits believe nut-based milks adds more flavor to a drink than cow’s milk.