Dean Foods Co., America’s largest milk producer, has recently filed for Ch.11 bankruptcy. They announced that they’ve received $850 million from lenders to keep operations running and to pay their employees until they get bought out. Dean Foods also mentioned that this was a choice for “voluntary reorganization,” however, was it really voluntary or did millennials have something to do with it?

Dean Foods “reorganization” has simply come from the lack of dairy consumption. There’s no hiding that milk just isn’t popular today as it once was when the milkman would drop off glasses of milk at your door.

Nowadays, finding a milk alternative is as easy as going to your local coffee shop and asking for a substitute. Milk substitutes have become the main trend for non-dairy consumers with options such as almond milk, oat milk, and even hemp milk. As reported by the U.S. Retail Sales Data, plant-based alternatives have increased by nine percent in the last year.

Vegan or not, these substitutes come in handy when one has an intolerance, but some millennials have made the switch once being informed of the animal abuse that goes on in dairy farms. Even though milk is pasteurized, it doesn’t take away the fact that the cows have been treated with hormones and our raised in dirty conditions. These viral videos have played a part in the decrease of milk intake because the younger generation is finally starting to realize that drinking another animals milk is unnatural and gross. A cow’s milk is made for their calves, the same way a woman’s milk is made for their human babies. No one would give an animal human milk because that would be seen as, again, unnatural. So why should we drink from an animal’s?

Each year the milk industry seems to face a challenge against plant-based alternatives, with each year dairy being less consumed then the year before. The Dairy Farmers of America released their financial report earlier this year, noting that their milk sales lowered by $1.1 billion in 2018 from 2017.

“While this past year has been challenging for many in our dairy farmer community, DFA remains focused on bringing value to our members,” mentioned Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer, in the report.

However, 2018 will most likely not be milk producers only challenging year. According to The Economist, 2019 is the year “veganism goes mainstream”. The idea of being vegan is no longer taboo in today’s society with more people opting for a healthier lifestyle. Since more people are choosing the vegan route, this means companies will start producing more vegan options to provide for these customers.

As more millennials become the generation to educate themselves on the dairy industry or just follow the latest trend; milk producers can only expect more of a decline in sales in the years to come.

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