Celebrate World Plant Milk Day 2023
Switching to plant milks remain better for health and the environment
World Plant Milk Day, on the 22nd of August, is an international celebration that encourages people to consider plant-based alternatives to dairy milk. Since 2017 the campaign has attracted the attention of millions of people around the world and helped accelerate the transition from animal milk to the substantial variety of plant-based alternatives.
Offering flavour, texture, and high nutritional values in milk analogues with plant-based alternatives creates significant challenges, and yet is a space that delivers constant innovation with new products and varieties reaching the marketplace regularly.
The diversity of vegan milks continues to grow in conjunction with the global shift towards plant-based eating. The market is being driven by a growing inclination for vegan diets. Environmental concerns are also a priority to consumers seeking sustainable lifestyle choices.
South African consumers can expect an increase in plant milk options and availability at stores and restaurants.
Last year ProVeg catalogued all of the domestically available options, and found 12 distinct types of plant milk, and well over 70 options when taking all the available brands and blends into account.
ProVeg will be publishing their full 2023 fast food ranking report for the South African market soon, and in the process discovered that plant milks were on the menu at chains such as Kauai, Panarottis, McDonalds, Wimpy and Mugg & Bean. Almond, soy and oat milk are the most common varieties. Other franchises such as Spur, Steers, KFC, RocoMamas, Barcelos and Ocean Basket did not offer plant milks.
The Rising Costs of Dairy
Plant milks, once considered a luxury item, are now priced more similarly to dairy and looks set to equal out in the coming years with ordinary animal-derived milk. This is due to the surging costs of dairy milk and products in South Africa. The average price of a 2-litre carton of fresh full-cream milk increased from ZAR 30.14 to ZAR 35.88 in the 12 months to April. Prices for milk and other dairy increased by 12.3% between February 2022 and February 2023. The 12.3% rate is up from 10.9% in January. Other notable annual increases were recorded for cheddar cheese, feta cheese, custard, fresh low-fat milk and long-life full cream milk.
Load shedding, which impedes processing and cold storage facilities, has had its effects across the entire domestic agricultural value chain and is also adding to already damaging global impacts, including the war in Ukraine that drove up diesel and fertiliser prices. The results are that the milk, eggs and cheese product group in South Africa has recorded its highest annual price increases in 14 years.
Further afield, milk production is at an all-time low in the US. In 2022 the United States Department of Agriculture commented that the decline in milk consumption was likely due to a change in dietary habits, as individuals are drinking less milk on average. Earlier in 2023 it was revealed that in Wisconsin, where dairy is a major industry, around 10,000 dairy farms have been lost in the last two decades. In the last year alone, the state lost 400 dairy farms. Across the US as a whole, there are now fewer than 30,000 dairy farms.
Farmers have been pouring milk down the sewers due to excess supply, attributed to a fall in demand. An increasing number of US consumers are moving away from milk over ethical, environmental, and health concerns. Per capita consumption of milk has fallen over each of the last seven decades. In 1970, the average person consumed 0.96 cups a day. This fell to 0.69 by 2000, and 0.49 by 2019.
Plant-based alternatives are increasingly proving to be more popular choices.
Environmental and Health Concerns
Dairy farming is responsible for at least four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also resource-intensive, using up vast amounts of land and water. Consumption has also been linked to a number of diseases, including some cancers.
A 2018 study from the University of Oxford revealed that producing just one glass of cow’s milk results in nearly three times more emissions than any plant-based milk alternative and requires around nine times more land.
Milk and other dairy products are the top source of saturated fat, contributing to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also linked dairy to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
The ProVeg Plant Milk Report
In this 2019 report ProVeg explores the rise of plant milk in recent years, and its importance in establishing a healthy and sustainable diet for the planet. Download the report here: https://proveg.com/wp-
Wikus Engelbrecht– Communications Manager: wikus.engelbrecht@
About ProVeg South Africa:
ProVeg South Africa is the local branch of ProVeg International. ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited with UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.