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You might not realize it, but changing attitudes toward the environment, health and animal welfare have turned the alternative-milks market into a multibillion-dollar industry that might be beginning to challenge the dairy industry. Young people no longer see milk as a fount of health, preferring alternatives like nut or plant milks. Milk, they might say, is food for baby cows, not for humans. This informative article from Oliver Franklin-Wallis is a good read for anyone interested in how changing social attitudes can be as disruptive as technological change – or for those baffled by the recent transformation of the dairy aisle.

About the Author

Oliver Franklin-Wallis is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, British GQ, Wired and The Sunday Times, among others. He’s also a contributing editor at Wired UK.



Mammalian infants produce the enzyme lactase, allowing them to digest lactose, the sugar in their mother’s milk. But after weaning, most people – two-thirds of the world’s population – stop producing lactase, making them lactose intolerant. Post–World War II, government programs in the United Kingdom and the United States provided free milk to schoolchildren to stave off malnutrition. Society considered cow’s milk a vital part of the modern diet and the dairy industry reaped the rewards. But it’s not clear whether it can withstand changing social...

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