Got milk? Millions of Americans don’t, now that they’re increasingly turning away from cow’s milk in favor of the many delicious varieties and flavors of plant-based nut milks.
This large-scale shift in demand has led to serious losses for the dairy industry in recent years. According to Mintel, sales dropped seven percent in 2015 and are expected to sink another 11 percent through 2020.
So why are people totally over cow’s milk? Here are five reasons why consumers are picking plant-based:
- Non-dairy milks are taking over store shelves.
As market researcher Packaged Facts wrote: “The new generation of refrigerated plants milks—with almond milk and novel blends leading the dairy-free charge—represent far more dangerous competition to dairy milk than the soy milks of yore, safely tucked away in the center store, in perfunctory flavors…” Estimates suggest that the non-dairy milk market will top $16 billion in 2018. Companies like Ripple, Califia Farms, and Elmhurst Milked are changing the landscape, offering innovative, delicious products that are better for people, the planet — and billions of cows.
- Dairy is scary. And people are figuring it out.
The industry is a horror show for dairy cows and their calves, who endure a cycle of cruelty and exploitation. Beautiful cows like Daisy (rescued by Pasado’s Safe Haven) are sent to the slaughterhouse when they can no longer produce milk. In addition, dairy production pollutes our air and waterways, and contributes massively to global warming.
- 70%+ of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance is super common. In fact, studies suggest that some 75 percent of the world’s population (including 25 percent of those in the U.S.) lose their lactase enzymes after weaning — meaning, they can no longer digest milk. And cow’s milk is produced by cows for cows, not humans! Instead of providing more calcium, as people previously believed, it actually leaches calcium from the bones and encourages its passage out of the body through urine. Countries with the highest rates of cow’s milk consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis!
- Vegan cheese is coming into its own.
These days, the non-dairy cheeses on store shelves are just as delicious and creamy (if not more so) as their traditional counterparts. Companies like Daiya, Miyoko’s Kitchen, Wayfare Foods, Field Roast, and many more are making incredible options. There’s every flavor from blue to parmesan to nacho cheese, with more hitting the market every day.
- You can make plant-based cheese at home.
With cookbooks like This Cheese is Nuts, Artisan Vegan Cheese, and Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious Plant-Based Recipes — plus tons of recipes on Pinterest and blogs — it’s easier than ever to make vegan cheese at home. Some recipes require only a few ingredients, and it’s doable to make everything from soft, spreadable cheeses to harder, aged varieties.
Find tons of dairy-free recipes here!