WASHINGTON – A new survey created by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), titled “Understanding Dairy Consumers’ Purchasing Behaviors and Habits,” is shedding light on the increased consumption of dairy products by Americans ages 55 and over, with younger generations opting for plant-based choices instead. 

According to the report, in which over one thousand American adults were surveyed, 80% of those over 55 claimed to consume dairy products multiple times a week, compared to 67% of adults ages 18-34 and 73% of those aged 35-54.

While plant-based products are not as popular amongst older generations, they are a thriving market amongst younger Americans. According to the report, 34% of those ages 18-34 and 31% of those 35-54 claim to consume plant-based dairy products more than once per week. In contrast, only 10% of those over 55 claimed to consume plant-based dairy products multiple times per week.

In addition to this, women are more likely to purchase plant-based dairy products over men, with 29% of women buying non-dairy products compared to 23% of men. 

Plant-based dairy products are fairly new and ever-evolving. Plant-based milk comes in many varieties that customers can choose from, including almond, oak, cashew and soy milk; these options give people who suffer from lactose intolerance the ability to enjoy dairy products as well. There are also many other plant-based dairy products that shoppers can enjoy, including butters, cheeses, yogurts and ice cream. 

While non-dairy products are a growing market, dairy products continue to outperform their plant-based counterparts. According to the report, more Americans would rather purchase the dairy versions of butter, ice cream, cheese, yogurt and yogurt-based smoothies rather than the non-dairy versions. 

The IFIC also provided information on the specific consumption of yogurt by American adults. Yogurt contains several nutrition and health benefits including live and active cultures like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. 

When asked why they consume yogurt, the top answer was, according to 20% of respondents, because of the taste, followed by 13% who said that nutritional value was their top reason and 12% of those who cited that health benefits was their top reason.

IFIC surveys in recent years, According to the recently-released 2021 Food and Health Survey, also created by the IFIC, the term “natural” has consistently shown power over influencing consumer perceptions and choices of foods and beverages, a trend that continues with yogurt. When consumers consider dairy-based yogurts, 12% said “natural” is the claim that is most important to them, with 24% ranking it amongst the top two priorities. 

As for the live cultures and probiotics present in most yogurt, 49% of consumers said that they were familiar with the importance of probiotics, with 35% saying the same about the live cultures present. Conversely, 45% of participants claimed to have little knowledge of the live cultures, while 14% said that they had never heard of live cultures being present. 

Results for this survey were derived from online forms, which were conducted from April 1-6. The research and results were supported by the International Dairy Foods Association.