The non-dairy brigade

Sometimes, when one is busy trying to figure out how to make a profit with the slump in milk prices post-quota, and how to reconfigure businesses so that the public will continue receiving its doorstep milk deliveries, other items that may be of importance in the future pass by. But the nice thing is that people are looking out, to at least point out that there is something terribly not right in the house of dairy, and that forces are afoot that are not in its best interests.

Julian Melletin (see our upcoming May issue) recently stepped up to remind our industry that non-dairy alternatives are starting to eat the industry’s lunch, both in the US and in Europe. Never mind the inefficiency and non-environmental credits of almond drinks (according to some reports, the amount of water consumed by almond trees is draining the US state of California dry as you read this). These beverages have been embraced by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Leonardo DiCaprio and may make a difference to dairy’s bottom line sooner rather than later. Which is a sad case of the internet and celebrity winning out over actual facts and common sense.

The depressing thing is also how much processing has to go into these alternative drinks to make them as palatable and even half as good for you as milk. As one speaker in Brussels recently noted, the cow is such an efficient converter of inedible (by humans) grass into deliciously consumable dairy milk.

Dairy has been around for thousands of years, and there is the argument that it will no doubt be around for some millennia more, so who cares about almond or cashew or soya drinks? True, in the long run dairy may win out, but at whose cost?


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