From 2000 to 2019, total volume of fluid milk consumption in the USA has steadily fallen. Many factors have played a role in this trend, including competition with plant-based alternative beverages (PBABs). Comparably, sales of PBABs such as almond “milk” have increased over the same duration. Consumer research has identified key beverage characteristics as purchase drivers for both beverage types. This study sought to evaluate the relative importance of these characteristics, investigate the effect of label statements on ratings of their acceptability, and analyze the settings in which and occasions during which consumption of dairy milk and PBABs occurs. This study consisted of two parts. First, a national survey was distributed to “dual consumers,” those who regularly consume both dairy milk and PBABs. The objectives were to quantify consumer perception of various beverage qualities, evaluate the impact of select label claims and statements on perception of the beverage qualities, and identify when and where dairy milk and PBABs are being consumed. Sensory analysis was also used to determine consumer perception of the various beverage qualities in a consumption experience. We investigated changes of perception during the consumption experience and compared sensory output to corresponding responses from the national survey. Of the on-label messaging explored in this study, “Manufactured without the use of steroids” was the most impactful for increasing positive perceptions of dairy milk, while “Traditionally processed” and “Contains no bioengineered ingredients” negatively affected perceptions. There are many settings outside of the the home and times of the day other than breakfast in which occasional dairy milk and PBAB consumption takes place, indicating available opportunities to market dairy milk and PBABs.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





milk, dairy, plant based beverage, purchase, consumer, sensory



Included in

Life Sciences Commons