Dairy Market - Demographics and Psychographics

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Dairy Consumers - Demographics

With 90% of US households consuming dairy products and 67% having it as a regular part of their diet, in many ways the demographics of dairy consumers reflect those of the US in general. However, there are slight differences across demographics lines in how much dairy is consumed which are detailed below.

GENDER AND AGE
  • By far, men below the age of 20 consume the most dairy, at an average of 2.1 cups per day.
  • Women under the age of 20 consume approximately the same amount of dairy as adult men (1.76 cups vs 1.71 cups).
  • Adult women consume the least amount of dairy at just 1.29 cups per day on average.
  • The type of dairy consumed varies by age and gender as well; e.g., "yogurt consumption is highest among Generation Z, Millennials, males and parents, while Generation X, females and households without children are eating less," according to Food Business News.

RACE

RELIGION
  • No publicly-available surveys link religious belief to dairy consumption.
  • Given how wide-spread dairy consumption is, it would be reasonable to hypothesize that dairy consumers mirror the religious beliefs of the population at large.

INCOME AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS

EDUCATION
  • There is no publicly-available research linking education to dairy consumption
  • Since education is often linked to income, it is likely that consumers with at least some college education consume slightly more dairy than those with only a high school education or less, but there is no discernible increase between a consumer with a Bachelor's and one with a Master's, for example.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Dairy Consumers - Psychographics

While the near-universal consumption of dairy products in the US makes developing a true psychographic profile difficult, there are numerous details salient to why so many eat dairy presented below.
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS
  • As dairy consumers comprise 90% of all Americans, it is not possible to isolate their particular hobbies and interests, and there is no study which even attempts to do so.

MOTIVATION
The motivation to consume real dairy products often comes down to health:

  • 60% consume dairy to promote bone health (e.g., for the calcium).
  • 38% consume dairy for digestive health
  • 56% believe that that dairy is "a necessary part of a balanced diet," though this seems to overlap with the 48% who say that one can have a balanced diet without dairy.

PURCHASE HABITS
Priorities in selecting a dairy product vary depending on the product, though taste is always the most important. For example:

  • In ice cream, having a great taste is the most important factor (66%) followed by the quality of the ingredients (12%).
  • In yogurt, taste is also important, though less so (48%) with having healthy ingredients (18%) and good nutritional value (17%) following.
  • Those consuming ice cream are notably less likely to check the amount of sugar, nutritional details (including protein and fat), or ingredients than those buying yogurt or flavored milk.
  • Despite 80% of consumers agreeing that dairy products with low or no sugar are healthier, 35% in the US expect their use of sugar to increase in the coming year.
  • Yogurt consumers join consumers of non-dairy alternatives in being more likely to avoid GMOs.

Other details of note:

  • While milk sales, in general, are down, flavored milk is the notable exception, reaching $1.5 billion in sales in 2017.
  • Globally (we were unable to find a US-only equivalent), 83% of dairy consumers "often" or "sometimes" try new dairy products, up from 71% in 2016.

ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS
Dairy and other animal-product consumers in the US are generally concerned with the welfare of the animals which provide their food:

  • 63% of dairy consumers are concerned with cattle welfare.
  • 68% would like to ban castration without pain control.
  • 78% say that they pay attention to labels which show how the animals were raised.
  • 82% want an objective, governmental third-party to evaluate how animals are cared for.
  • A majority (the exact percentage was not reported for dairy in the study) would be willing to pay a reasonable premium price to ensure that their dairy came from animals which were treated humanely.

ASPIRATIONS
  • As in the case of hobbies and interests, the near-universal consumption of dairy products makes determining the aspirations of this group from those of the general American public impossible.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Non-Dairy - Demographics

While there is considerable overlap between non-dairy and dairy consumers, with nearly half of Americans consuming both, nevertheless there are distinctive demographic differences between the two segments, including biological reasons for women and people of color adopting alternatives faster than white men.
GENERAL FINDINGS
  • While 48% of Americans believe that dairy isn't necessary to a balanced diet, only 4% avoid dairy altogether.
  • Of those who consume both, 19% report consuming less dairy "for health reasons."
  • Even so, about half of the 90% of Americans who consume dairy also consume plant-based dairy alternatives.
  • Those who avoid dairy products most often do so for health reasons, with 35% citing lactose intolerance and 28% dairy allergies.

GENDER AND AGE
  • With health issues being the most common reasons to switch to non-dairy alternatives, and women being more likely than men to report lactose intolerance (38% to 28%), dairy allergies (35% to 14%), and a desire to avoid hormones (29% to 14%), women "are more than twice as likely as men to avoid dairy."
  • Millennials are particularly drawn to non-dairy alternatives, particularly yogurt.
  • 28% of non-dairy drinkers say they wish to consume less dairy as they grow older, suggesting that Baby Boomers and even Gen Xers are also major demographic segments.

RACE
There are definite racial/ethnic patterns when it comes to the purchase of non-dairy alternatives, and a specific biological reason for that.
  • People of color are more likely to purchase non-dairy milks (48%) than Whites (32%).
  • The incidence of lactose intolerance among Hispanic and Black individuals is 50-80%.
  • Moreover, the incidence rate among Asian and Native American individuals is nearly 100%.

RELIGION
  • There are no surveys in the public domain which break down non-dairy consumers by religion. Again, given how common it is for consumers to partake of both dairy and non-dairy products, we expect the overall demographics to largely match the US in general.

INCOME AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS
  • A presentation given at the 2015 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association and Western Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting suggests that "high income households consume more" soy milk and almond milk, but does not provide statistics or a source to back up this claim.
  • We have found no other public sources associating the purchase of non-dairy alternatives with any particular socioeconomic group.

EDUCATION
  • College-educated individuals are more likely (44%) than non-college educated consumers (30%) to consume non-dairy alternatives.

A NOTE ON OUR SOURCES
It is Wonder's general practice to restrict our research to sources published within the past two years. However, this is not always feasible. To complete this project, we found it necessary to turn to peer-reviewed research. Given the long publication cycles in academia, where papers published a decade ago can still be cited as current unless more recent work has superseded them, some of those sources are from as early as 2015. We have carefully checked in all cases to ensure that the data in question are the most up-to-date available.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Non-Dairy - Psychographics

There is considerable overlap between consumers of non-dairy alternatives and dairy consumers; consequently, discerning general interests, hobbies, beliefs, and aspirations which set them apart from the general population is not always possible. However, there are numerous details salient to their non-dairy purchase decisions available to the public domain, which are outlined below.
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS
  • Due to the widespread consumption of non-dairy alternatives, there are no extant studies on the hobbies and interests of this consumer group.
  • However, for reasons that will be evident below, we hypothesize that those who consume non-dairy alternatives, and particularly those who eschew dairy, would more often have hobbies linked to a healthy lifestyle than the general population, such as sports, exercise, and outdoor activities.

MOTIVATION
  • Those who avoid dairy products most often do so for health reasons, with 35% citing lactose intolerance and 28% dairy allergies.
  • However, there is also a perception that milk is less healthy overall, with 22% of non-dairy consumers having a positive perception of milk compared to 45% of the general population.
  • Non-dairy consumers have a slightly more "active" view of nutrition; e.g., when asked, "What does nutrition mean to you?" more say an active phrase like, "Eating right" (28%) than a passive phrase like, "It's good for you" (20%), compared to an even split (at 25%) in the general population.

Other motivations include:

  • Avoiding growth hormones (24%)
  • Reducing saturated fats (24%)
  • Cutting back as one grows older (23%)
  • Animal rights issues (20%)
  • Avoiding antibiotics (18%)
  • Environmental reasons (15%)

Those who are exclusively non-dairy consumers have almost opposite priorities in their purchase decisions than those who consume dairy:

  • Taste 74% 58%
  • Price 59% 42%
  • Health 46% 65%
  • Satisfies family 46% 23%
  • Variety of use 42% 30%
  • Digestive benefits 15% 50%
  • Shelf life 16% 51%
  • Production transparency 15% 36%
  • Animal welfare 10% 30%
  • Lactose-free 7% 49%

If the above chart is difficult to read due to formatting issues, it can be found duplicated as a project spreadsheet here.

PURCHASE HABITS
  • Only 12% of non-dairy alternative consumers avoid dairy altogether, meaning that there is considerable psychographic overlap between the two groups.
  • Those purchasing dairy alternatives consistently check the products nutritional details and ingredients (especially sugar, protein, and fat) more often than those who purchase dairy products.
  • Likewise, non-dairy consumers, like yogurt consumers, are more likely to avoid GMOs than other dairy consumers.
  • While there is more focus on nutrition, taste is still important: 40% of non-dairy consumers still consider "great taste" to be the most important factor in making their purchase and 45% expect their dairy alternative "to provide the same experience as real dairy," particularly when it comes to consistency and texture.
  • A clear majority (80%) prefer almond as a dairy alternative, with coconut milk in second place (59%) and soy in third (50%).

ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS
  • Interestingly, most consumers of non-dairy substitutes report liking the taste of real dairy better than the alternatives.
  • For parents, "feeling good about serving the product to their children" is an extremely important factor in whether they will repurchase a non-dairy alternative.
  • Those who use both dairy and non-dairy products are twice as likely as those who avoid dairy altogether to associate plant-based milk alternatives with actual dairy milk.
  • "Dual" buyers usually see no real nutritional difference between dairy and non-dairy milk (59%/60%), while those who exclude milk altogether are more likely to believe that non-dairy substitutes are far more nutritious (32%/65%) and even more natural (38%/55%).

ASPIRATIONS
Sources
Sources