Elmhurst Dairy in Queens has ceased it’s dairy operation after 90 years citing decreased customer demand. CEO Henry Schwartz said the company has been operating at a high cost in recent years and revealed that “Pasteurized fluid milk has sort of gone out of style.”, “we are unable to continue to go on without ongoing losses.” “There isn’t much room for our kind of business. I tried to keep this open because it was my father’s plant and he asked me to do so.” The shutdown reflects ongoing trends in the dairy milk business: increasing consumer awareness of the treatment of cows in the milk industry as well as consumer concern about saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones is leading to declining sales.
Andrew Novakovic, a professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University, said milk consumption peaked in the late 1940s and has declined sharply in the last few years, from about 240 pounds per person in 2010 to about 120 pounds per person in 2015.
However the declining demand for cow milk has lead to a growth explosion for plant-based milks, so Elmhurst Dairy have dropped the dairy and renamed to simply ‘Elmhurst’ and will instead produce their own range of healthy plant-based milks.
Elmhurst debuted their new range named ‘Milked’ at trade show Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim, California last week.
Schwartz says their new range has “up to 4 times more nuts per serving than the other leading brands” and will be available in four varieties, Almond, Hazelnut, Cashew and Walnut. Each contains only raw cold-milled nuts and simple ingredients. And “No emulsifiers, thickeners, whiteners or frankenfood proteins” are used.
Turning cows into milk machines has led to epidemics of “production-related diseases”, such as lameness and mastitis (udder infections), the two leading causes of dairy cow mortality in the U.S. This weakness is due to the extreme genetic manipulation and supplemented hormones which cause unnaturally high milk yields.
According to the USDA, 1 in 6 dairy cows in the U.S. suffers from clinical mastitis. This level of disease is reflected in the concentration of somatic cells in the milk. When a cow is infected, more than 90% of the somatic cells in her milk are neutrophils, the inflammatory cells that form pus. The average somatic cell count in U.S. milk per spoonful is 1,120,000, however the dairy industry says this pus doesn’t matter because the milk is pasteurized (the pus gets ‘cooked’).
Dairy milk has also been found to contain an alarming cocktail of hormones including: progesterone, oestrogen, cortisone and other adrenal steroids, IGF-1 growth hormone, leptin, oxytocin, prolactin, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. This makes sense as it’s designed to rapidly grow a baby calf – but aren’t components humans should be consuming.
These days it’s so easy to avoid all this by just drinking plant-based milks instead. If you’re not vegan yet, switching your milk might be the best and easiest place to start. In fact, over the last few years so many people are switching away from cow milk that the dairy industry is in serious decline. In the UK more than a thousand farms have closed in the last three years, and research conducted by Mintel shows that half (49%) of Americans now regularly consume non-dairy milk.