The National Dairy Council (NDC) in Ireland recently conducted a study that found 41 percent of women and 30 percent of men now either limit or avoid dairy. The study revealed that one in 10 Irish residents considered dairy products unhealthy, and the largest demographic that avoids dairy are females between the ages of 15 and 24. “We have been aware for some time there was a generation of Irish people avoiding or limiting dairy in their diet, and this was of key concern for us as the current generation will be the future parents,” an NDC spokesperson told local media outlet Irish Central. “It is a concern that 10 percent of the population perceive dairy as unhealthy.” The spokesperson—who said that lactose intolerance is an “urban myth”—attributed the shift away from dairy products to social-media influencers who promote plant-based diets. The NDC is launching several initiatives to make dairy more appealing to younger generations to combat the apparent consumer shift toward plant-based alternatives. Mounting scientific evidence has linked dairy consumption to increased rates of contracting diseases, including a 2015 study that connected milk consumption to higher rates of breast cancer. Outside of Ireland, the dairy industry has been in decline for several years, while the global plant-based milk industry is steadily growing and is estimated to reach $35 billion by 2024.
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