Dairy perceptions: More people reaching for milk alternatives

glass of milk

I have a nephew, working hard to raise his family while operating the family dairy farm.

He is my sister’s son, and I’ve loved him from the moment he arrived in our world.

It’s no secret, he isn’t a great lover of the grind of daily milking. He would much rather be on a tractor and doesn’t mind working from sun-up to sundown, doing whatever needs done in the fields on his paternal four-generation farm.

His three young children already indicate they hope to make theirs a five-generation operation. It was Todd I thought of as I bought a small container of almond milk for a recipe I wanted to try.

Alternative milk

Todd speaks up for the dairy industry every chance he gets and feels the liquid versions of almonds, coconuts and all other plant-based products should not be entitled to use the term “milk”.

There is no doubt, grocery space has given way to this trend over the last several years.

Ian Potter of the United Kingdom writes a great blog which deals with the dairy industry and how to survive the world market as it stands in terms of dairy consumption.

He recently wrote of the cycle of consumers in the UK buying milk that isn’t dairy milk and how it is impacting dairy farmers throughout the world.

Earlier this month, Potter wrote, “Evidently, the decline in dairy consumption is from consumers switching to black tea/coffee, and a move from eating sandwiches to wraps and fries with no dairy ingredients in them. This eclipses lost dairy sales derived from any trendy switch to veganism.

“Consumer researchers Mintel predicts that dairy sales will drop by 11 percent in Western Europe by 2020. In contrast, plant-based milk sales in Europe rose almost 20 percent in the last 12 months. At the same time, Mintel research states in the USA ‘Dairy hasn’t lost the battle to plant-based alternatives.'”


In a large survey of Europeans, he writes the adults were asked to name the fat content in whole milk. Only 12 percent of respondents gave the correct answer of 3.6 percent. Most gave wildly high answers.

Here in the United States, I’ve always felt consumers are far too often making decisions based on the latest trend they halfheartedly heard about, without bothering to learn the facts.

We each need to use our voice to support the dairy farmers who continue to work as hard as ever to provide so much.

Drink milk

Potter closed his most recent blog with this: “Believe me these issues desperately need a total industry buy-in if we are to maintain and hopefully grow our dairy markets. It is partly our fault that consumers have switched off to dairy and milk because we haven’t told them how great it is for years!”


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.


  1. “buying milk that isn’t dairy milk and how it is impacting dairy farmers throughout the world.” why don’t you discuss buying dairy products and how is destroying the world?
    Those farmers like your nephew should find alternative ways to farm something not someone and stop stealing milk that IS meant for babies.


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