MOO-ve Over Cow’s Milk, Nut Milk Is Becoming The New ‘Norm’
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MOO-ve Over Cow’s Milk, Nut Milk Is Becoming The New ‘Norm’

Whether it is for health, dietary intolerances or restrictions, ethical or environmental reasons, or a preference in flavour, more and more people are choosing milk alternatives over cow’s milk and has made a lasting impact on the dairy industry. According to a report from Statistics Canada, there has been an overall decline in Canadian dairy milk consumption since 2009 and experts say that nut milk is here to stay. 

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in 2020, the market for milk alternatives registered sales at $417.4 million in Canada. Milk alternatives have been on the rise in Canada and between 2018 and 2021 with over 161 milk alternative beverages were launched in retail stores. 

There has been concern that milk alternatives do not contain the needed vitamins and minerals like cow’s milk does, but nutritionist Mina Khan, says this may not be the case. 

“Oat milk is generally a really great source of calcium, and most brands fortify their versions with added nutrients,” Khan said. 

In a telephone interview, 22-year-old student at Centennial College, Vikram Kapoor, said that he did not know about milk alternatives until he moved to Canada from India. 

“I need these types of milks since I am lactose intolerant and it wasn’t till I moved to Canada and saw all these plant-based milks like Almond Breeze, and I was like “you can make milk out of almonds?”

75 per cent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant like Kapoor, and a growing generation of people are turning towards nut-based beverages as a personal preference, which has caused the market for milk alternatives significantly. Neilson stated that oat milk has steadily grown in popularity over 2021 with sales spiking 138 per cent in 2020. 

Even the food service industry is noticing this change and has been offering milk alternatives to customers, especially coffee shops.

Starbucks barista, Rawmeen Mohammad, said in a phone interview that about 35 per cent of customers would want any type of milk alternative. On busier days it would be about 60 per cent, she said. 

But when you ask for a milk substitute at Starbucks, or most coffee shops, you will be charged slightly more. 

In an interview, a smaller social media influencer, Alek Listens, said that milk alternative companies too will upcharge depending on how much nut product is in the milk.

Social media influencer Alek Listens speaks on milk alternative companies and their reasoning for upcharging certain milk alternatives

No matter the price, people are willing to buy nut-based milk alternatives. Statistics forecast that the sale of alternative milk beverages will reach $469.9 million in 2025, which is an 8.4 per cent increase. Whether it is almond, coconut, cashew, or oat milk – nut-based milk alternatives are slowly replacing dairy. 

Story by Kayla McIntosh/RSJ

The Rise in Popularity of Milk Alternatives

Video made by Wyeth Mitropoulos/RSJ

November 7, 2021

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