A recent survey found that people in the United States are starting to feel more confident in their decision to stop eating dairy.
That could be good news for the dairy industry.
The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Associated Press, found that nearly half of respondents said they’d made a decision not to consume dairy products, up from 38 percent last year.
And that sentiment was especially strong among millennials, the demographic most likely to be switching from dairy to non-dairy options.
This year, Pew found that only about one in five Americans ages 18 to 34 said they would stop consuming dairy products if their dairy consumption did not decrease, down from 43 percent in 2017.
But the survey also found that millennials are far more likely than past generations to choose not to drink milk.
And it’s important to note that the poll didn’t measure the dairy-free option, only milk and yogurt.
This could be an indication that millennials want to avoid dairy products even more than previous generations did.
They’re also much more likely to choose non-milk options like yogurt and almond milk.
The other interesting takeaway from the survey is that millennials still feel confident about their choices to consume less dairy, even if they don’t always agree with the dairy companies.
Millennials are also more likely, on average, to say they consume less than half of their recommended daily intake of dairy, compared to past generations.
That means dairy-based products like cheese and butter are more often the focus of consumers’ dietary decisions than butter and cream cheese.
That may be because millennials’ taste buds are growing up in a more health-conscious culture, said David Bierut, director of the Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of California, Davis.
They’ve been told that dairy products are unhealthy.
And as a result, they’re more likely now to say that the health benefits of dairy are outweighed by the risks.
But there’s also an assumption that if we eat less dairy products we’ll have healthier, more fulfilling lives.
That’s probably not going to happen, Bierutsays.
“The truth is that the dairy supply chain is much more complex than people think.
It’s much more than just milk,” Bierutt says.
“Dairy is a food for a lot of different things, and that includes yogurt, butter, cream cheese, cheeses, cheese sticks and a variety of other dairy products.
There are also other dairy ingredients like whey, casein, lactose and whey proteins that contribute to the overall protein content of dairy products.”
The bottom line?
While millennials may be making healthier choices, they may be taking their health into their own hands and limiting what they eat.
That can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Bieruten said millennials may not be aware of the importance of limiting dairy consumption, but they’re starting to understand that it can be a part of a healthy diet.
“I think that’s what the surveys are trying to do,” Biestut says.
He said the data shows that when it comes to dairy, millennials are making a conscious decision to stay active and consume fewer dairy products as they transition to a healthy lifestyle.
“If we’re not paying attention, then we’re going to be missing out on some of the benefits of a dairy-heavy diet,” Biersut says, adding that it’s also important to remember that millennials may also be taking into account other health benefits like reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Millennials may also not be conscious about the health risks of dairy.
“People are so used to the idea that they’re not consuming a lot that they might not think about the effects of dairy on their health,” Bijsselbloem says.
And she says the results of the survey may be a bit skewed because of the way people are measuring health.
“A lot of people may be measuring health in terms of their weight or their cholesterol, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to the general population,” she says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.