Over the past two years, more than a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds in the United Kingdom have reduced or cut their dairy consumption entirely.
Sixteen percent of 25 to 34-year-olds were also reducing their intake. For those above this age bracket, the number of people ditching dairy spanned from five to 11 percent.
Health reasons were the leading driver behind the change. Scientists and researchers have linked the consumption of dairy to various health issues, including acne, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and cancer.
Sustainability and ethical concerns also played a role. Emma Clifford, associate director for food and drink at Mintel, told BBC, “Heightened awareness of the detrimental impact that dairy production has on the environment, alongside concerns over animal ethics, has given rise to a new trend called ‘reducetarian.'”
“This sees adopters significantly reduce their consumption of animal products and is a key driver behind the strong performance of the dairy-free and dairy alternatives segments,” she added.
Young People Dissatisfied With Dairy
The BBC spoke to Bekki Ramsay, 23, from Newcastle in the UK, about dairy’s decline. She commented that young people were leading the shift. “I feel like my generation is a lot more open to trying,” she said, adding that younger people generally have more access to information due to the internet and are able to research their consumer choices.
Millennials have been credited for the rising popularity of the vegan movement which sees people ditching dairy as well as meat, eggs, and other animal products. In the UK, from 2017 to 2018, more than 50 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 29 tried a plant-based diet.
Dairy-Drinkers and Vegan Milk
As more people lean away from cow’s milk, sales of dairy-free milk are soaring. Since 2015, the UK has seen a 30 percent increase in plant-based milk sales.
But it’s not just vegans buying it. Recent research found that, over the past six months, nearly half of dairy-drinking Americans also bought plant-based milk. In California, more than 30 percent of people stated they prefer vegan milk over dairy.