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Consumers Prefer Milk Alternatives, Recent Report Shows

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Health Foods,Nutrition at 1:48 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Sales of milk alternatives have risen remarkably over the last five years while traditional dairy milk sales have dropped significantly
  • Plant-based milk options provide many of the nutrients found in dairy milk, but further research is required before bold claims can be made

Traditional dairy milk has long been considered a healthy source of calcium and protein. Still, there has been a pushback in recent years against dairy, and many consumers are turning to plant-based alternatives like soy or rice milk. Dairy alternatives were initially products aimed at individuals with lactose intolerance, though other factors like vegan dieting and animal cruelty concerns have contributed to this shift.

Whatever the exact reasons are for the change in consumer attitudes, it seems to be taking a toll on the dairy industry. Dwindling dairy sales and rising sales of milk alternatives were recently reported by CNBC. The report explains that shoppers are far more likely to gravitate toward almond milk, hemp milk or coconut milk.

Despite the push away from dairy, some experts warn there needs to be more research on milk alternatives before any claims can be made about any actual health benefits. “Nutritionally, cow’s milk and plant-based drinks are completely different foods, and an evidence-based conclusion on the health value of the plant-based drinks requires more studies in humans,” according to a 2016 study testing the health benefits of traditional milk (1).

While there might not be a ton of hard data, milk alternatives still contain a number of essential vitamins. A study released in 2017 compared the nutritional value of cow’s milk with alternatives like soy and almond. Soy milk was found to be rich in protein and a glass can provide the body with a comparable level to that of the same serving of dairy milk (2). Almond milk also proved to be low in calories and balanced in nutritional value. Still, allergies to soy or almond can prevent consumers from taking advantage of these alternatives.

Until more research is conducted, consumers are left to their own judgment on which milk alternative fits their needs best. And, of course, which tastes best with a little chocolate syrup mixed in.

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