Dairy vs. plant-based milk: what are the environmental impacts?

Read the full story at Our World in Data.

Milk is a dietary staple across many countries in the world. But dairy can contribute a lot to the greenhouse gas emissions of our food. In typical EU diets, it accounts for just over one-quarter of the carbon footprint, sometimes as much as one-third.1

Growing awareness of this means many are looking to plant-based alternatives. In the UK, surveys suggest one-quarter of adults now drink some non-dairy milks (although not always exclusively). It’s even more popular in younger demographics with one-third of 16 to 23-year-olds opting for them.2

There is now a range of ‘plant-based’ milk alternatives available, including soy, oat, almond, rice, and coconut. This raises two common questions: are plant-based milks really better for the environment, and which is best?

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