Global market researchers at Mintel have reported that the popularity of dairy milk will drop by 11 per cent across Western Europe by 2020. The report comes as plant based milk sales have risen by 19.1 per cent in Europe over the past year, and vegan milk sales in the US have risen by 61 per cent in the past five years.
As the demand for dairy products drops, the number of dairy herds has too dropped. Government statistics show that from 1995 to 2015, the number of farmed dairy cows has decreased by 700,000 as an estimated 10 million people cut dairy from their diets. In a two year period from 2014 to 2016 there was a £240 million dairy sales loss due to a fewer number of cows.
The number of people choosing dairy-free alternatives has come from the health scares that are associated with dairy and animal derived products. Claire Hider, a vegan nutritionist in Edinburgh said: “Cutting out dairy may be helpful for those with acne, allergies, digestive problems, sinus issues, there are also plenty of scientific papers pointing to a connection between dairy products and inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and hormonal cancers, for example of the breast and prostate.”
The nutritional value of cow’s milk isn’t designed for human consumption, but for the growth of calves meaning that the components of dairy products are vastly different to human breast milk, which contains the necessary nutrients for babies’ growth. Dairy milk has a high content of saturated fat, cholesterol and many dairy drinkers experience weight gain and other health problems such as an increased risk of heart disease and higher cholesterol levels.
Hider added: “Cow’s milk contains proteins, fats and minerals in ratios that are nutritionally beneficial only to a baby calf – which is designed to grow rapidly into a full-grown bovine ruminant weighing close to a ton.”