Recently, Amul put out an ad criticizing vegan milks. PETA India replied by writing a letter to the company, highlighting the fact that the demand for vegan food and beverages is so high. It pointed out that a study by Grand View Research found that the global dairy alternatives market is expected to reach $52.58 billion by 2028.
Analysts at Barclays, the British financial services company, predict that the vegan food and beverages market could rise by more than 1,000% by the end of the decade. In 2019, a website run by Franchise India Holdings Limited wrote an article that the number of vegans in India has increased by a massive 360% in the past decade.
PETA India says the dairy sector is the main provider of cattle to the beef industry as most family farms are now gone. Today, most buffaloes and cows used for dairy are raised in factory conditions and are artificially inseminated. Their calves are snatched from them soon after birth so that humans can consume the milk intended for them.
Male calves of no value to the dairy business are abandoned to starve. Others are sold to be slaughtered for their skin and flesh. Female calves suffer the same fate as their mothers: they’re used as milk systems until they can't anymore, at which point many are dismissed or killed for cheap meat.
Last week, the National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India made a plea in the Delhi high court hoping that only animal milk be allowed to be called “milk”. However, in 2018, an article in the Smithsonian Magazine explained that calling plant-based milks as milk, such as coconut milk, dates back centuries and has been consistent across countries. In vernacular terminology, it is referred to as nariyal ka doodh.
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO of Equinox Labs, says, “Amid COVID-19, millions of consumers have taken their health into their own hands. They're looking to eat food to boost their immunity. Many consumers now see plant-based food as a clear nutritional winner.”
Ashwin continues, “I think it's highly likely that plant-based milk will eventually make up the majority of the dairy category.”