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Vegan Milk Puts a Dent in Western Europe's Dairy Sales

New research shows that people in Western Europe are increasingly purchasing plant-based milks, which is having a negative impact on dairy's profits.

A new report compiled by market research firm Euromonitor revealed that the dairy sector is the worst performing in terms of sales across Western Europe. While Euromonitor found that general food sales grew across Europe by 12.9 percent from 2012 to 2017, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of dairy in Western Europe was .27 percent. Euromonitor senior research analyst Leonardo Freitas credited the shift to an increased interest in plant-based milk among people in Western Europe. “A recent and significant change in lifestyle and consumer choices have been shifting the category throughout the region and driving the decline for dairy,” Freitas told media outlet Foodnavigator. “Whilst the concern regarding lactose intolerance has increased in the continent, many consumers started to slow down on their dairy-based product purchases and seek alternative products such as almond milk, soy-based products, and coconut milk.” Freitas explained that consumers are also linking animal-derived milk to digestion issues, which is also having a negative effect on the sale of dairy products. Euromonitor’s report is consistent with global data that predicts a sizable spike in the value of the plant-based milk industry—currently estimated to be worth $35 billion by 2024.

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