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The Dairy Industry Is Coming To An End And This is Why

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

Milk, cheese, butter, cream, yogurt — the list goes on. The dairy industry has rammed these products down our throats for years, making it one of the most profitable industries in the world. But, times are changing…

A larger amount of people are making conscious decisions on what they put in their body for ethical, environmental and nutritional reasons. Coupled with the rise in plant-based alternatives to milk and your other favourite dairy products, we could be on the verge of a radical change for your average person’s grocery list.

Dairy alternatives are on the rise

The numbers don’t lie. The increase in dairy alternatives is on the rise and there is no sign of it stopping.

According to data released by Mintel at the beginning of 2018:

non-dairy milk sales have seen steady growth over the past five years, growing an impressive 61 percent since 2012, and are estimated to reach $2.11 billion in 2017.

We now have many different options including soy, nut and coconut milks. These products are then used to make the dairy alternatives. Large UK supermarket brands Sainsburys and Waitrose have launched their own vegan ranges, with the later having their own dedicated fridge for purely vegan products. Of these include many dairy alternatives.

And it’s not just the UK which is making waves in plant-based milk industry. Large dairy company Dean Foods has shut down one of its facilities in Illinois with one of the reasons being a decreased demand in dairy products. They have also acquired a majority stake in plant-based food brand Good Karma, which focuses on non-dairy beverages and yogurts. When following larger trends in the market, money talks. Large investments in dairy alternative companies (from existing dairy companies) proves that they are noticing the larger trend at play here. The dairy industry is on the decline.

People are becoming more aware of the health dangers

There was once a time when your grandma would tell you to drink your milk because its “good for your bones”. Where else would you get that calcium? The truth is that milk is NOT good for our bones or our overall health and the scientific evidence to prove this is becoming overwhelming.

A study conducted by Harvard University concluded that, “Greater milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in older adults”. And the results further showed that, “After controlling for known risk factors and current milk consumption, each additional glass of milk per day during teenage years was associated with a significant 9% higher risk of hip fracture”
Hip fractures, heart disease, cancer, acne, premature death is all at a higher risk when consuming dairy.

Just look at the plethora of evidence provided on nutritionfacts.org (my go to place for nutritional information) or the many books and interviews by plant-based doctors from the likes of Michael Greger, T. Colin Campbell, John McDoughall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Garth Davis, Pam Popper and many more.

People are more aware of the way we treat animals

The harsh reality is that these defenceless animals are being put into conditions which many of us no longer agree with and this reality has caused more people to consume less or no dairy products. The disturbing process is as follows:

  1. A female cow is forcibly impregnated with bull semen.
  2. She then gives birth and has her calf taken away from her. A female calf is kept as a dairy cow and a male is slaughtered for veal.
  3. She cries out for days, screaming for her calf
  4. During this process of being pregnant and giving birth, she is then hooked up to a machine which collects the milk from her udder
  5. Often, through this long process the udder becomes infected and produces puss which ends up in the milk.
  6. This is repeated for as long as she can give birth and produce milk
  7. When she is so tired that she cannot carry on, she is then taken to the slaughterhouse and sold for meat.

People are more aware of the environmental dangers

The worldwide success of the documentary Cowspiracy’ has helped bring evidence to light showing animal agriculture as the biggest threat today for our planet.

Some of the facts provided by the documentary show:

  • Livestock and their by products account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34–76 trillion gallons annually.
  • Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land
  • Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US.
  • A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people

As dairy farms take up a significant amount of animal agriculture, this should be enough for any environmentalist to stop and think twice as to whether they want to continue consuming dairy products.

Dairy farmers are beginning to panic

A dairy farmer has recently described herself as feeling ‘worthless’ on WBKN 27 news. They reported that dairy prices and consumption is dropping even though they are producing more milk. The dairy farmer states that “they’re going broke.” But, this is their lifestyle and they hope to continue for years to come.

The harsh reality for these dairy farmers is that times are changing, and they can either follow the trend or go broke trying to fight it.

My prediction, based on the growing concern for animal welfare, the greater evidence showing the detrimental impact of dairy on our health and the cost this all has on the environment, is that we will see a huge shift from dairy products to plant-based alternatives. As the alternatives keep growing and becoming more profitable for businesses there will be a shift in investment from dairy to non-dairy and the public will consume significantly less dairy as a result. Will there ever be a day where no one consumes dairy products? Maybe, but we still have a long way to go….