Take the microcosm of the New Zealand milk market for a moment.
The country was built on the back of the industrial animal agricultural sector now firmly under attack from a new generation of thinking milk drinkers wishing to do no more harm.
Source: Silk Branding
Total dairy solids taken from animals, repurposed and branded for local and export consumption amounts to a staggering 22-million metric tonnes each year. Most of this is exported in various forms but still New Zealanders are some of the largest consumers of liquid milk in the world gurgling their way through 535-thousand metric tons or 535,000 litres in 2022. This is an average of slightly more than 10litres per person annually.
However consumption in the last few years has stabilised – ‘peak milk consumption reached’ ? – as more consumers turn towards plant-based milks.
Although the NZ dairy industry remains steadfast in its marketing message that ‘milk provides calcium to build stronger bones’ many including the current GenZ generation are seeing through the historical dairy industry message preferring to focus on planetary and personal health underpinned by a growing knowledge of the harmful affects of the exploitation of animals.
Check out this plant-based milk advertisement taking a leaf from ‘old dairy based advertising’ featuring the infamous 'white moustache'.
Akin to the grassroots hippie and free thinking movement of the 70’s this Next GenZ crowd are the ‘hippies conscious grandchildren’ no longer standing for any of the hype and nonsense.
The recent FDA approval of the use of the word ‘MILK’ in reference to plant-based liquids is seen as a confirmation to the world that regulators have validated the name - the plant-milk revolution will no-doubt gather momentum.
GreenQueens Hot Take sums up the current situation beautifully but with all revolutions there will be pushback by the ‘diehards’ until a global decrease in animal milk production and consumptions declines as consciousness increases.
THE GOOD: “This is a victory for common sense and we hope that the EU will take note," says ProVeg
The BAD: “We see many suggestions in this proposal that are unfairly burdensome to companies, and frankly, treat plant-based products differently than any other foods in the market,” says PBFA
THE UGLY: Lawyers predict the ruling “provides a hook for opportunistic class action lawsuits” whereby plaintiffs would claim brands are misleading reasonable consumers if they choose not to make the nutrient statements recommended in the guidance.
Other countries grappling with the massive upswing in plant-based milk consumption include the US, Australia, China, the British Isles and EU and believe it or not, India which has one of the largest levels of cow milk consumption in the world.
So back to the impact on the New Zealand consumer; the dairy industry is close to the back door steps of many New Zealanders who can see every move the industry makes locally.
Fontera, New Zealand’s largest dairy producer and a major player in the global market will be the biggest looser along with dairy farmers who fail to look at alternative protein crops to replace dairying.
Fontera is also the biggest polluter in New Zealand contributing more to green house gas emissions than any other agricultural industry. NZ Animal meat heavyweight, Silverfern Farms is high on the list as well.
So who will win this global plant-based MILK revolution?
The Land – at present it is not clean and green- its polluted
The Animals – currently nearly 60-million dairy cows globally
The Consumers – plant-based milk consumption growing
*According to a report by Grand View Research, the global plant-based milk market size was valued at USD 14.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3% from 2021 to 2028. This indicates that the demand for plant-based milks is increasing worldwide, as more people are choosing to consume non-dairy alternatives due to health, environmental, or ethical reasons.
And on that note let’s celebrate this great news!!!