Dairy scores higher in consumer perception study than non-dairy substitutes

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

At least 67% of respondents said that they consume dairy on a regular basis, Cargill's global consumer study found. ©GettyImages/baibaz
At least 67% of respondents said that they consume dairy on a regular basis, Cargill's global consumer study found. ©GettyImages/baibaz
Half of consumers consuming dairy alternatives are also consuming dairy products while 67% of consumers overall say dairy is a ‘regular part of their diet’ and 13% consider themselves ‘dairy avoiders’, a global consumer research study by Cargill found.

Of the 50% of respondents that consume dairy (defined as products made from milk of animals), 8% said dairy is part of their diet but that they prefer dairy alternatives. Nearly a quarter (24%) said that they have tried dairy alternatives but do not like them, according to Cargill’s report.   

Cargill also found that the taste was more important when purchasing dairy products like milk (55%) than it was for non-dairy alternatives (40%).

Reasons for dairy avoidance

According to the respondents who said they either limit their consumption of dairy or completely eliminate the food group from their diet, the most frequently cited reasons had to do with personal health: a lactose intolerance (35%) followed by a dairy sensitivity/allergy (26%).

Other reasons for avoidance included “avoiding growth hormones”​ (24%), “cutting back on dairy as I age”​ (24%), and “reducing my saturated fat consumption”​ (23%).

“Very few (7%) mention not liking the taste of dairy,”​ Cargill said.

Of the dairy alternative sources available in products, 80% prefer almond, 59% like coconut, and 50% said they prefer soy. Factors of dairy alternatives that drove purchases were ‘healthy’ and nutrition claims as well as the quality of the product.  

However, the biggest detraction from the non-dairy category is price with 47% of respondents agreeing that “dairy alternatives are too expensive.”

What’s keeping consumers in dairy?

Another 20% of consumers said that they consume dairy on a less frequent basis in addition to the 67% who said that dairy is a regular part of their diet.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they prefer the taste of ‘real dairy’ and 60% said they seek out dairy products for their bone health benefits such as calcium and Vitamin D with almost half (49%) willing to pay more for products they consider healthier.

Additionally, 63% of participants said that they “prefer the taste of real dairy over dairy alternatives,”​ according to Cargill.

Related topics: Retail & Shopper Insights

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1 comment

Can change it right now...Dairy is Scary:

Posted by Aleks Ross,


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