An investigation into the rise in demand of plant-based milks and what this means for the Scottish milk industry
Recent evidence has suggested there has been a significant increase in demand regarding the plant-based milk market. While various studies have investigated motivational factors regarding food choice and more specifically veganism, no research has looked into motivations to solely purchase plant-based milk within Scotland. Therefore, the aim of this research is to ascertain the motivations for Scottish 18–30-year-olds switching from dairy milk to plant-based alternatives and the affects this may have on the future of the Scottish milk industry. A qualitative approach was adopted in an online questionnaire format that incorporated open-ended questions to attain rich, in depth responses. The participant profile of Scottish 18-30-year-olds was used since this demographic had not been evaluated within this context whilst being easily accessible. However, limitations regarding sample bias were recognised and the measure of snow-ball sampling was introduced to mitigate the impact. Thematic analysis was applied to identify themes within the data collected. In conclusion it was established several motivational themes influence consumer choice in relation to milk namely health, environment sustainability and ethical concerns as proposed by literature. However, compellingly, the study discovered a new emerging theme of skin. Additionally, it was discussed that perceptions of the dairy industry are declining, possibly due to the influence of social media. As a result, the researcher discussed that considering the diverse motivators encouraging people to purchase plant-based milk and the declining opinion of the industry, there could be a negative effect on the Scottish milk industry. Furthermore, a recommendation will be made for future research to allow sufficient time to secure more questionnaire responses to improve generalizability of findings.