EU consumption of cows’ drinking milk is on a downward trend, because of a change in lifestyle but also due to concerns of certain consumers, according to a recent report by the European Commission.
The commission says lactose intolerance is a growing concern for fresh milk sales along with several campaigns arguing against the consumption of animal products including dairy products for health, ethical and environmental reasons.
All these factors drive an increasing consumption of alternative products, it says.
Per capita consumption decreased by close to 5L in the last 10 years.
This decline was only very partially compensated by higher purchases of alternative drinks, such as soy drink (+0.8kg per capita in 10 years).
In the next decade, the downward trend is expected to continue at the same pace, down to 53.8kg per capita by 2026.
By contrast, the Commission says the downward trend in yogurt consumption seems to have come recently to a halt and consumption could stabilise, while cream consumption should continue growing slowly, although not enough to offset milk consumption decline.
Until recently, the trade of fresh dairy products was very limited but lately exports increased strongly (by a rate of 55pc in two years), especially to China, according to the Commission.
It says this expansion in trade is expected to slow down because exporting liquid milk (with a water content of 80pc) is not economically sound, even if transport costs are reduced thanks to the use of containers otherwise empty on their way back to China.
EU milk could be partly replaced on shelves by local milk or milk coming from geographically closer origins in Oceania.