As veganism grows more popular in the U.K., dairy industry fights back – Marketplace

In March, the first nationalvegan milk delivery service will be coming to British doorsteps, a clear sign that veganism is on the rise in the United Kingdom.

One opinion survey suggested that 3.5 million Brits, around 5% of the population, now identify as vegan and avoid consuming or using animal by-products.

Their motivations range from worries about animal welfare to considerations about human healthand a concern that methane emissions from cattle are contributing significantly to climate change.

Richard Eckersley, co-director of ReRooted, the company launching the new doorstep delivery service, refuses to drink cows milk for ethical reasons.

I dont think we should be impregnating cowsand then taking their milk away from their babies, he said. Were in the 21st century. Lets use plants instead.

His company, based in Totnes in the southwestern county of Devon, currently produces around 700 liters, or 1,225 pints, of both coconut and almond milk per day in reusable glass bottles,which are deliveredlocally by electric van. Eckersley is confident that there is enough demand for a national service.

Every day people are switching from dairy milk to no-dairy milk, he said. I think theres a massive demand for it. The markets opening up and what were moving into is a new ballpark.

Veganism does seem to be all the rage, with the annual monthlong promotion ofVeganuary, which encourages people to go vegan for all of January, gaining more and more recruits.

But the dairy industry is fighting back. It just had its own monthlong promotion called Februdairy, promoting the message that cows milk is healthy, ethically produced and ecologically benign.Some new dairy farmers like Olly Lee are determined to outgreen the vegans.

Weve gone for what we feel is the most environmentally friendly way of packaging milk, Lee of How Now Dairy said. Were using compostable packaging.

Lee says the pasture on which his cows graze captures far more greenhouse gases than the cattle emit.And his returnable, compostablepackaging helps.

We can spread it on our fields, Lee said. That compost will improve the soil health which improves the ability of the soil to then store carbon.

Lees organicmilk (also delivered locally by electric vehicle) is, he insists, every bit as green as the vegan variety. And he treats histiny herd with loving care.

We have only 20 cows, so we know every one of them by name, he said. We know her mothers name, and her grandmas name. We know the whole lineage. I take a real pride in looking after my cows.

In spite of the small herd, Lee is confident that when operating at full capacity his dairy will be profitable, because his milk is a premium product.

It certainly has a premium price tag: $1.30 per pint. Thats more than three times the price of ordinary milk.ReRootedsvegan coconut drink costs even more: $2.15 per pint. Eco-friendly milk dairy or non-dairy doesnt come cheap.

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As veganism grows more popular in the U.K., dairy industry fights back - Marketplace

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