Industry leaders have warned farmers are facing a crisis as vegan diets are behind young people losing their taste for milk, cheese and eggs.
Milk sales could sour as teenagers are shunning the British staple for trendy non-dairy versions like soya and almond milk.
Industry leaders have warned farmers are facing a crisis as vegan diets followed by stars such as pop idols Miley Cyrus and Ellie Goulding are behind young people losing their taste for milk, cheese and eggs.
With a “demographic timebomb” looming, Dairy UK is backing the biggest drive to boost milk sales since Unigate’s 1970s “Watch out there’s a Humphrey about” ads that put a pinta back on family breakfast tables in one of the most successful marketing campaigns in the UK.
For a three-a-day campaign launched by the Global Dairy Platform will press home the benefits of the white stuff amid reports that children and young people are drinking less milk than their parents and grandparents.
Dairy UK chairman David Dobbin said farmers were facing a big drop in demand for milk as Mintel figures revealed 93% of over 55s in Britain drink milk compared with 81% of 16 to 34-year-olds.
And a Kantar Worldpanel study found the over 65s drink milk 875 times a year compared with five to 24-year-olds who have a glass just 275 times a year.
Mr Dobbin told the European Federation of Animal Science in Belfast: “In the past children consumed a lot of dairy, but today’s children and teens don’t necessarily eat it.
“It’s a demographic time bomb. If we don’t address the problem now, then we are facing a fall-off in demand for dairy.”
And in a sideswipe at trendy vegan diets he added: “The problem we face is that we have some health professionals who see dairy as the enemy.
“People wrongly assume that dairy is bad for them because of its fat content, without considering the other nutritional benefits it offers.
“We have to fight that cause and encourage people to eat more.”
Since June 2013, more than 1,000 dairy farms have closed in England and Wales as a milk lakes sent prices plummeting.
Dairy UK voiced concerns that the milk glut will get much worse unless the one time must-have on every family menu can be made cool again.
A Dairy UK spokesperson said the industry was facing “serious issues from anti-dairy groups or plant-based food companies.”
And added: “When it comes to promoting the benefits and strength of food products, all food sectors should have a robust evidence base, not just trendy claims or health gurus.
“From a nutritional standpoint, the majority of plant-based alternatives do not have the nutrient richness of dairy products.”