Veganism a passing fad and 'will only last two to three years' - claims Dairy Council

Dairy Council chief Zoe Kavanagh
Dairy Council chief Zoe Kavanagh
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The vegan trend will only last two to three more years, the CEO of the National Dairy Council, Zoe Kavanagh, has predicted.

In January, there was a 40pc increase in sales of plant-based foods in Ireland, but Ms Kavanagh believes that the expense involved with the vegan diet means that it is a movement that is already halfway through its lifecycle.

"I don't think it's forever. We all know people who have tried the vegan diet but have dropped it because it is too expensive and that there are too many restrictions," she said.

In recent years, vegans have used the month of January to promote a plant-based diet through the Veganuary campaign and dairy farmers have used February to promote the industry through Februdairy. Ms Kavanagh warned that campaigns like Februdairy aren't the answer to combating myths surrounding dairy and that the industry needs to promote the benefits of dairy all-year round.

According to Stephen O'Leary of Olytico Social Media Monitoring Team, Februdairy has been mentioned on Twitter over 65,000 times in the last month.

"The danger with Veganuary and Februdairy is that it will turn into a tit-for-tat debate," said Ms Kavanagh. "We have to remember, if it was a true debate, we would win hands down every day of the week. The dairy industry has to set its own agenda and take the lead."

The NDC will launch a new campaign in May to target young and questioning consumers.

A spokesperson for GoVegan World said veganism is not a fad or a diet; it is not restrictive or expensive, and it is not something that can be tried out and discarded.

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"Realising that other animals have feelings, that they value their lives, and they are not ours to use changes how we think and feel, and it changes who we are permanently." 

They also said a tit-for-tat debate between vegan animal rights activists and the industries that profit from using other animals is too late. "That is why we direct our efforts at the general public who generate consumer demand. As we debate these issues, we face the devastating consequences of climate change from unsustainable animal agriculture, in the very near future. Plant milk is significantly more sustainable than cow’s milk.

"Try as it might, the NDC will never be able to justify the violation of animals’ rights inherent in the production of dairy."

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