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Dairy on the decline? The Dutch are drinking less cow’s milk

Photo: Depositphotos Photo: Depositphotos

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch may be known for their cheese but their consumption of milk and most other dairy products is going down steadily, broadcaster NOS reported on Wednesday.

Between 2016 and 2019, supermarket sales of milk fell by 6%, of buttermilk by almost 8% and ready-made milk puddings by as much as 25%, NOS said, quoting figures from market research group IRI.

Bas Roelofs, in charge of the Dutch market at dairy giant FrieslandCampina, told NOS radio that the ‘enormous’ choice consumers have in terms of drinks is one reason for the switch.

Health concerns about added sugar in puddings is another issue, he said. ‘We are busy reducing the amount of sugars in our products,’ he told the broadcaster. Some of the slack has been picked up by a switch to plant and nut-based milks, which still only account for 1-2% of the market, Wageningen University researcher Stacy Pyett told NOS.

Nevertheless, the Dutch still eat one third more protein than they need on a daily basis, and animal protein is damaging to the environment, she said. Belgian company Alpro is one of the main beneficiaries of the switch, and said sales are rising by tens of millions of euros in the Netherlands every year.

‘In the early days, in the 1980s, our products were mainly bought by people who were lactose-intolerant, but those days are over,’ spokeswoman Jasmien de Gussem told NOS.

The company now says 33% of Dutch households have a plant-based dairy product in the fridge.


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