UK Consumers Are Drinking Half as Much Cow’s Milk as They Used To

According to a new analysis, consumers in the United Kingdom are drinking half as much cow’s milk as they did in the 1970s! A similar trend is underway in the United States, where liquid milk consumption has fallen 40 percent since 1975.

This change in consumer behavior is not unfelt by the dairy industry. Borden Dairy, one of the oldest and largest dairy companies in the United States, filed for bankruptcy this year. With a history dating back to before the American Civil War, Borden says it has been hurt by the staggering drop in consumption of cow’s milk.

Similarly, in November 2019, Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Owner of familiar dairy brands Dairy Pure, Organic Valley, and Land O’Lakes, the 94-year-old company and largest milk producer in America blamed the “accelerated decline in the conventional white milk category.”


While the switch in consumer preferences leads some companies to collapse, others have embraced change. In November of last year, California’s oldest dairy farm said goodbye to cows and hello to almonds! After Dean Foods suffered a 91 percent drop in net profits, the company invested for a minority stake in flax-based vegan brand Good Karma Foods. Dairy giant Danone recently acquired WhiteWave Foods, parent company of Silk and So Delicious. And in 2017, Elmhurst Dairy, one of the oldest and largest dairy processors in the United States, shifted from cow’s milk to 100 percent plant-based milk.

Last year, Mercy For Animals launched the Transfarmation Project to support farmers and companies in transitioning from animal agriculture to growing crops used for plant-based products. The result will be a better future for farmers and their families, consumers, animals, and the planet.


The plant-based food industry is expected to be worth $85 billion by 2030. To get there, plant-based food producers will need a reliable source of key ingredients, such as peas, mushrooms, oats, and greens. Similarly, the demand for hemp as food, textile fiber, and medicine is growing. The Transfarmation Project partners with farmers to help them select crops to farm instead of animals and then connects them with businesses in need of their products. It’s a true win-win.

While liquid milk sales are on the decline, sales of dairy products, like cheese, continue to grow. Next time you’re grocery shopping, consider choosing compassionate plant-based dairy products. Get delicious vegan meal ideas by ordering a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today, and check out our Pinterest page for thousands of recipes.
  • Calf
  • Chicken
  • Piglet

Stand up. Speak out. Defend animals.

Join our mailing list to learn about action opportunities, Mercy For Animals news, and more!

Count Me In!