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48% Increase in Dairy Consumption for under-35s during lockdown

New Research unlocks positive sentiment for Irish Dairy produce during Pandemic

  • Four in ten have increased their consumption dairy during the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Eight in ten believe that Irish dairy produce is superior to dairy from elsewhere;
  • Seven in ten say milk is part of a healthy, modern lifestyle;
  • Sharp decline in proportion indicating they adhere to a high protein (-21% pts) or sugar free (-15% pts) diet. In fact, fewer indicating they follow each diet mentioned: Lactose-free (-8% pts) / Vegan (-4% pts)
  • Higher incidence of various diets among those aged 25-34, those in Dublin and those in urban areas;
  • 1 in 10 report they adhere to a dairy free diet, rising to 13% of 25-34s and 13% of Dubliners.

New research from the National Dairy Council (NDC) shows that when it comes to living a healthy, modern lifestyle, young Irish adults think that milk is the perfect fit. Tracking changes in attitudes from a 2019 study, the NDC found that young Irish adults think milk is for people of their age and that milk gives energy and vitality. Importantly, their perception of milk as a sustainable product has also increased, with over 50% of those questioned agreeing that it is.

Nearly one third of young adults without children indicate that their consumption of dairy products has increased since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. This increase is significantly higher for young adults with children, almost half (i.e. 48%) of these respondents says their milk consumption has increased by nearly 50%.

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the NDC said:

In these unprecedented times, it is heartening to know consumers are seeking out dairy products because they know they can rely on their natural nutritional value and they can be assured of the quality of locally produced Irish dairy. Our research shows that almost four in ten [39%] consumers under 35 have increased their consumption of milk, cheese and yoghurt during the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Ms Kavanagh. “On top of this, almost all consumers [88%] state that Irish dairy produce is superior to other countries produce and [82%] want the Irish dairy sector to be successful and supported into the future.

Overall, Irish households are consuming more milk than was found in 2018. The Trend towards ‘back to basics’: full milk rather than added milk. Possibly a result of people consuming/ spending more time at home, looking for comfort during difficult time.

Cheese is one food that does not appear to be affected by negative dairy attitudes among Millennials. Many consuming more now than they were in March of last year.

Little change in the types of milk being consumed in Irish households. Full fat milk remains the most commonly reported (64%). The average Irish household currently consumes 6.34 litres of milk a week. 72% of Irish adults feel it is important to buy local dairy products.

Just 1 in 10 of the Irish population report they adhere to a dairy free diet, rising to 13% of 25-34s and 13% of Dubliners.

Ms. Kavanagh believes that Irish people are buying more dairy products because of their natural nutritional value and the indisputable quality of locally-produced Irish dairy.

We know that the Irish are a nation of milk drinkers and dairy aficionados and we’re more than pleased that Irish dairy fans view their locally-produced Irish dairy products as the best in the world. What we’re seeing in this new piece of research is a growing awareness of dairy – milk, specifically – as part of a healthy, modern lifestyle. As we emerge from lockdown and adapt to our new normal, health and fitness are front of mind and the natural nutritional value of dairy is a great fit with those healthy living goals.

It helps, of course, that a majority of young Irish adults believe that milk can be drunk at any time of the day, that it’s versatile, that it makes them feel good and that they (and their families) enjoy drinking it.

The research also saw a rise in those agreeing that milk is a sustainable product. Ireland already has the most efficient production system in the European Union, with low levels of carbon emissions due to our grass-based and family farming systems.

Across the country, farmers are reducing emissions from soil management, incorporating clover into their grass management – to act as a natural fertiliser – and utilising lime to increase soil PH. Almost every dairy farmer in Ireland has now been certified under the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme in Ireland (Origin Green), for taking important steps towards improving sustainability.

  1. Dairy Sentiment Survey, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, August 2020
  2. EMF Evaluation Milk Campaign 2019-2021 – Post Test Results 2021 – conducted by Ipsos

For futher information contact:
Cathy Currran, Communications Manager, National Dairy Council
+353 1 290 2518 |