As more consumers become aware of the impacts of dairy on animals, the environment, factory farm workers, and their own health, the alternatives market is booming. If dairy farmers were concerned before, they should definitely be scared now.
According to a new report by market research firm Bharat Book Bureau, the vegan cheese industry is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 7.6 percent between 2016 and 2024, meaning the market will reach a value of $3.906 billion in the next few years.
The report cites the “growing number of vegan consumers” as a significant factor in quick growth and names Miyoko’s Kitchen, Kite Hill, Treeline Treenut Cheese, Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese, Vtopian Artisan Cheeses, Heidi Ho, and Parmela Creamery as key players, among others. The report states:
Various factors such as growing consumer demand for environmentally-friendly, animal-free sources of protein, rising concerns over antibiotic, allergens, and hormone use, and animal welfare concerns are driving the growth of the global vegan market.
The plant-based market as a whole topped over $3.1 billion in sales this year, and a report by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute shows a more than 20 percent increase in purchases of dairy alternatives, such as vegan cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, for a total of over $700 million in sales. A study by Grand View Research predicts that the plant-based milk industry will boom to a market value of about $35 billion by 2024. And Lux Research expects plant-based proteins to make up a third of the global protein market by 2054.
The evidence is clear: Demand for plant-based dairy products is growing at an exponential rate. With veganism skyrocketing upwards of 600 percent in the U.S. since 2014, eating plant-based foods isn’t a fad diet or niche trend; it’s a global dietary shift from inherently cruel and environmentally devastating animal-based products. The market will only continue to boom as the demand for plant-based dairy products increases.
The millennial market has shown consistent growth in the past decade as members of the world’s largest generation purchase their own food. This generation also boasts more self-identifying vegetarians than any other, according to The New York Times. As millennials grow more concerned about the environment, animal welfare, and their health, they’re leaving animal-based products out of their diets, contributing greatly to plummeting dairy sales.
But hold on! Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2005, reportedly buys 550 percent more plant-based food than Generation X. Because Generation Z is responsible for creating a $5 billion vegan meat and seafood market, it’s no surprise that the dairy industry is calling plant-based milks a “serious threat” to its bottom line.
From 2015 to 2016, as younger generations enjoyed more plant-based foods, Google searches for “vegan” increased by 33 percent, a slightly higher increase than the one from 2014 to 2015.
But the rapidly growing demand for vegan dairy alternatives is not only great for consumers; it’s great news for the cows who suffer horribly in the dairy industry.
At dairy factory farms, cows are routinely brutalized, forcibly impregnated, and kept in horrendous conditions. Torn from their mothers at birth, male calves are killed for veal, and females are raised to produce more milk. At the end of their miserable and heartbreaking lives, cows are sent to a violent slaughter.
Watch this heartbreaking Mercy For Animals undercover investigation into New York’s largest dairy farm.
Join the millions who are taking a stand for animals, the environment, and their own health by switching to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here for a list of our favorite vegan dairy alternatives.