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Dairy alternatives on the rise Noel Hendrickson/DigitalVision/Thinkstock

Dairy alternatives on the rise

Real dairy still rules, but study shows more people are consuming both

While dairy alternatives continue to grow in popularity, consumers are not quite ready yet to completely forego traditional dairy, according to the results of a new survey from agricultural and food giant Cargill.

Two-thirds of survey respondents said they regularly consume real dairy products, while up to 50% of respondents said they either consume both dairy- and dairy-alternative products, or that they prefer dairy alternatives but will still also consume real-dairy products. Only 12% of respondents said they are true “dairy avoiders.”

The global dairy alternatives market is expected to reach $35.06 billion by 2024, according to a report by Grand View Research. The rising number of lactose-intolerance cases and increasing consumer awareness toward health are expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period.

Those factors also come into play in the Cargill report, in which respondents cited the following reasons for avoiding dairy: 35% indicated that the primary reason for avoiding dairy products is lactose intolerance, followed by reasons such as “dairy sensitivity/allergy” (26%), “avoiding added growth hormones” (24%) and “to reduce my saturated fat consumption” (24%). 

On a positive note for the dairy segment, 63% of respondents said they prefer the taste of real dairy (only 7% of respondents said they avoid dairy because they don’t like its taste). Just over 20% said they have never tried dairy alternatives.

The biggest downside for alternative dairy, according to Cargill, is the price. Nearly half (47%) of respondents agree that dairy alternatives are too expensive.

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