The latest blow to the downtrodden dairy industry was delivered by none other than Starbucks Corp., with the coffee giant looking to condition customers to use milk alternatives in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
While Starbucks accounts for just 0.3% of U.S. milk production, the decision to formally declare an emphasis on non-dairy options may encourage other food-service outlets to follow suit. That could add momentum to the shift toward oat, nut, soy and other alternative beverages for health and environmental reasons. American cow-milk consumption has fallen about 2% each year since the 1970’s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s a trend that has helped put plenty of American dairy farmers out of business and led to two big U.S. processors — Dean Foods Co. and Borden Dairy Co. — into bankruptcy. Dean is one of Starbucks’ key suppliers, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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