Moo-ve Over Millennials, Generation Z is Going Dairy Free


This week in our dairy-free news bites, we’re covering the rapid rise in non-dairy beverage consumption thanks to Generation Z. Plus, we’ve got information on how the market is expected to grow and what plant-based milks will be in your refrigerator next year.

Generation Z is Going Dairy Free

According to Research by Barclays, Generation Z is consuming 550% more dairy-free milk beverage in comparison to prior generations. Also known as iGen, these economic movers-and-shakers were born between 1995 and 2012. They’re just beginning  to enter adulthood, but already make up roughly a quarter of the US population. And it’s estimated that by 2020, Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers.

Mooo-ve Over Millennials, Generation Z is Going Dairy Free + New Trends in Plant-Based and Dairy-Free Milk Beverages

Other food trends with Generation Z include dramatic rises in the consumption of numerous dairy-free goods. They’re consuming 30% more dark chocolate, 57% more tofu, 80% more kale, 125% more sushi, 138% more hummus, 171% more herbal tea, 266% more avocados, and 667% more coconut oil. These coming of age kids are also taking on healthier lifestyle habits. They’re drinking and smoking less, and doing double time at the gym.

But next to coconut oil, shifting to plant-based, dairy-free milk beverage seems to be the biggest trend. And retailers aren’t sitting on their laurels with almond and coconut milk.

In lockstep with the Generation Z population, the market research firm Packaged Facts expects plant-based, dairy-free milk beverages to make up 40% of the total US milk market by 2021. This equates to over $11 billion in annual sales, up from $6 billion in 2016. And globally, the dairy alternatives market as a whole is expected to reach $35 billion by 2024.

“Vegetarians and vegans together account for less than 15% of all consumers and their numbers do not grow very rapidly, but a growing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarian or lessitarian, meaning that they’ve cut back on their consumption of animal-based foods and beverages. It is this group that is most responsible for the significant and ongoing shift from dairy milk to plant-based milk,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

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Plant-Based Milks Set to Trend in 2018

And the selection of dairy-free milks is vast, with peanuts, cassavas, and many more plants getting milked for beverage sales. But Package Facts predicts that the following milk beverages will make the biggest splash in 2018:

  • Barley Milk is hopping onto the scene thanks to a re-purposing pioneer that developed a way to convert spent barley grain from the beer brewing process into a more sustainable milk beverage.
  • Flax Milk emerged many years ago, but it temporarily disappeared from shelves. Now it’s back and boasts high Omega-3s, no top allergens, and a flavor that’s more neutral than most.
  • Hemp Milk has been on the market for quite sometime, but research suggests that only 1% of the North American population has ever tried a food or beverage containing this powerhouse seed. Perhaps it is the rise in marijuana legality that is prompting more interest. But Omega-3 rich hemp milk beverage is loaded with amino acids, not THC.
  • Pea Milk may not sound appetizing, but it’s a protein-rich, top allergen-free option that we promise tastes nothing like your grandmother’s holiday side dish.
  • Quinoa Milk has a very pronounced flavor that can taste bitter to some. Nonetheless, many consumers will like that it’s higher in fiber, amino acids, and minerals than many other milk beverage varieties.

To keep an eye on what’s new, watch our reviews and listings of dairy-free milk alternatives.

Homemade Maple Hemp Milk - vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free recipe with unbelievable flavor freshness and nutrition.

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Trader Joe’s Launches New Dairy-Free Almond Nog

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Pingback: Abby's Better Nut Butter Review: Cashew, Pecan and Almond Butters

  2. This is interesting and crazy!! I have to giggle a little about the coconut oil, avocados, and sushi! Sushi is big in our family, especially within the last year and might be next years foodie theme for us and my mom and many people laugh and are shocked that my girls eat it. Usually veggie and cooked but still sushi!

    • In my search for a chocolate that is dairy , egg, sugar, nut, soy free, is non GMO and Vegan , I only found one company that meets this criteria. It is Sweet William Au. Currently sold in Austraila, Europe,Asia , their product line will soon be available in The US and Canada. I shall be pleased to share these details .

  3. What interesting stats. But it totally makes sense. My generation is already making the shift so it’s no wonder the later ones are making larger strides. Those kids are the ones being raised by those of us making the initial changes.

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