The annual celebration was launched in 2001 by FAO to increase public awareness of the nutritional qualities of milk.
Alongside GDP co-founders Dairy Farmers of America, other global dairy companies including FrieslandCampina, Fonterra and Arla are promoting events and social media campaigns across the globe under the umbrella of “raising a glass to milk”.
FAO and GDP work together
Donald More, executive director of GDP, told DairyReporter GDP became involved after More met with Graziano de Silva, the director general of FAO, in October last year.
“I said, ‘we'd like to administratively get behind and promote World Milk Day at a global level, would you be willing to work with us to do that?” and they said yes,” More said.
Examples of events for World Milk Day
- Free distribution of products in India
- Manneken Pis fountain statue in Brussels will be ‘peeing’ milk instead of water
- Seminars in Sweden
- School visits in Portugal
- 5K race in Panama
- Soup kitchen distributing free kefir in Oslo
- Milk festival in Kenya
- National Dairy Council in Ireland publishing a sports nutrition booklet
- Social media campaigns using the hashtag #WorldMilkDay
“A lot of our very senior large dairy companies and cooperatives were equally interested in promoting the day themselves, they were interested in using the opportunity to promote the positives about dairy,” More added, saying this was the first year that the industry has really come together to promote the event.
So far more than 250 events have been registered in 57 countries around the world, although the actual number is more as not every event is registered on the website.
“There are more than 250 events planned, and they've already started,” More said.
“What we've found in promoting this event across the global dairy industry is that it's been picked up by small companies, small producers in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America.
“All over the world we've had an enormous surge, all about promoting the positive benefits of milk consumption, both from a nutritional perspective and also from an economic and social perspective.”
More said he was delighted at the enthusiasm and the support from around the world from dairy companies to dairy farms, restaurants, etc.
“We've been pleasantly surprised by the positive uptick we've received. I just love the creativity. I think in 48 hours we'll be saying’ wow, why didn't we think of that before’,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate all that is good about dairy.”
Dairy UK launches Milk Manifesto
In the UK, the Milk Manifesto was launched today to coincide with events.
The manifesto is a joint declaration which sets out what it says are the lifelong health benefits of consuming milk.
The Dairy Council has called on academics and health professionals to give milk and milk products a higher priority.
While the dairy industry celebrates, some of the tweets associated with World Milk Day have been opposed to the dairy industry, or highlighting plant-based dairy alternatives.
Euromonitor International facts from data on the rise of dairy alternatives
• In 2002 milk alternatives sales were only 5% of those of cow milk’s. In 2021 they will be 20%
• With sales over $8.7bn, China is the world’s biggest milk alternatives market
• China and US account for 70% of the global milk alternatives market in value terms, however in growth terms they are outperformed by Italy, Vietnam and the Netherlands.
• With a value CAGR of 9% at constant 2016 prices over 2016-2021, the Italian market is expected to grow ahead of many emerging markets, including China, India and Vietnam, but also the US and the UK. By 2021, Italy is expected to rank the seventh largest plant-based protein milk market, overtaking both Germany and the Netherlands.
• In 2017-2020, soy as an ingredient in milk alternatives, is projected to increase by only 9%, while cereal and nut-based ingredients will grow by 30%.
And, according to a new report from market research provider Euromonitor International, cow milk is falling out of favor while plant based alternatives are rising.
In 2002 milk alternatives sales were only 5% of those of cow milk’s. In 2021 they will be 20%, according to the report, “From Almond to Pea: The Growing Appetite for Plant-based Milk.”
Pinar Hosafci, senior food analyst at Euromonitor International said, “Consumers across the world are increasingly skipping the dairy aisle.
“The world is moving towards a new diversified milk experience. Soy beans are the most widely used ingredient in plant-based milk, however a growing number of consumers are looking beyond soy to newer plant alternatives that are less likely to be sourced from genetically modified crops, are allergen-free and carry a lower carbon footprint.”
Tweets on World Milk Day
A selection of some of the global tweets so far using the hashtag #WorldMilkDay