An attempt by the dairy industry to counter Veganuary via a social media campaign sparked fierce resistance on social media.

The purpose of the Februdairy hashtag was to promote a positive view of the dairy industry, which has shown signs of slowing in recent years. MarketLine data showed that volume growth for dairy in the UK slowed to a compound annual growth rate of 0.4% between 2012 and 2016. The hashtag has also been used by more extreme campaigners to aim an onslaught of negative propaganda at the dairy industry, alongside the meat industry.

This has been attributed to the increasing popularity of vegan and plant-based diets, which has seen consumer trends move away from dairy. The growing popularity of Veganuary, a UK-based charity encouraging non vegans to trial the lifestyle throughout January, has contributed to this. Veganuary had 50,000 people signed up in 2018, and at least 542,000 people in Britain are now following a vegan diet, according to an IPSOS Mori poll commissioned by the Vegan Society. The charity’s aim is to help and encourage those making the transition into a vegan lifestyle through recipes and providing information.

The simple idea to encourage discussion around the dairy industry in the UK was quickly matched by vegan campaigners. By the second week, Plant Based News claimed the campaign had been a ‘complete misfire’ and ‘successfully hijacked’.

In February 2018, Dr Judith Capper, a livestock sustainability consultant and the first Dairy Industry Woman of the Year, spearheaded the Februdairy social media campaign. The idea was simple: to the use the hashtag Februdairy and make positive posts about the dairy industry for the 28 days of February. Within a week the hashtag had already been used by over 1,700 people.

Dairy farmers and others who work in the industry continued to fight their corner by posting informative and positive tweets about their work, which has continued into March.

Related links–dairy-in-the-united-kingdom/