As Irish people grow wary of dairy's supposed effects on the body, the National Dairy Council is trying to reinvent itself.
The National Dairy Council is attempting to gain back those who have switched to plant-based alternatives, like nut milks or soy derivatives.
According to its recent research, 41% of Irish women and 30% of Irish men are now avoiding or limiting their dairy consumption.
The food body also found that while 72% of Irish men still purchase dairy for its health benefits, such as protein, one in ten people now believe that cow's milk is unhealthy.
To combat these concerns, the National Dairy Council launched a major marketing initiative last last year. The campaign saw the installation of a pop-up Dairy Bar offering free milkshakes, frozen yoghurt, and smoothies on Dublin's South William Street.
However, the National Dairy Council (NDC) still believes Irish consumers are skeptical over choosing dairy - a shift in attitude it puts down to social media influencers.
An NDC spokesperson stated,"We have been aware for some time there was a generation of Irish people avoiding or limiting dairy in their diet, and this was of key concern for us as the current generation will be the future parents."
"It is a concern that 10 percent of the population perceive dairy as unhealthy," the spokesperson added.
"People will believe a beauty influencer with 100,000 followers."
Forecast is saying we are due sunshine all weekend ?perfect time to share this refreshing treat! So simple & tasty! I have teamed up with @Alpro to bring you this delicious Tropical Berry Parfait ?? using their new plant-based ice cream. This recipe is great for a summer BBQ or just for ☝?. The combination of the berry sauce with the cold smooth creamy ice cream and the crunchy nuts is a summer blowout ????. Recipe link in bio. #ad #AlproIceCream
While consumption of dairy-free milks, such as nut milks, is considered low in Ireland - accounting for between 5-7% - this mainly represents females aged between 15 to 24 living in Dublin/Leinster.
Models and food bloggers which large followings such as Rozanna Purcell and Rosanna Davison, both former beauty queens, are advocates for plant-based substitutes. (Purcell is not strictly dairy-free but often includes lactose free recipes in her hit cookbooks.)
Staunch vegan advocate Davison has previously come under fire from Irish farmers on several occasions over her anti-dairy stance.
The NDC spokesperson continued, “It is a concern that 10% of the population perceive dairy as unhealthy. Misconceptions and urban myths about dairy’s fat levels, allergies and lactose intolerance are wrongly encouraging millennials to opt for trendy almond milk lattes and gluten-free foods.”
In the UK, a pro-dairy campaign entitled 'Februdairy' was launched to retaliate the the vegan community's January's plant-based push Veganuary. It seems the NDC may just do a similar initiative - having already launched a new modern website which attempts to link dairy to the popular #fitfam movement.
The NDC said the anti-dairy stance of the aforementioned 15-24 year old women were being influenced by food blogs and social media posts.
"People will believe a beauty influencer with 100,000 followers," the spokesperson added.
As a result, the NDC intends to collaborate with social media influencers and use their omnipresence as an advantage to spread the message that "milk is good".
You know what that means - expect a lot of #spon "Got Milk" posts coming to a feed near you soon.
Let us know your thoughts on the dairy vs plant based substitutes debate in the comments below.