In an era where dietary inclusivity is paramount and lactose intolerance is increasingly recognized, a recent incident at a popular eatery has stirred quite the conversation.
A simple inquiry about milk alternatives was met with an unforeseen response, leaving patrons both stunned and intrigued.
The Customers Question
A customer, Araceli Sol, entered a Waffle House and inquired about the availability of milk alternatives. The response from the server was swift and straightforward, leaving Araceli and her group in a state of shock.
The incident was captured in a video, where Araceli is seen with her hand over her mouth, looking around at the other group members.
A text overlay explains her shock:
“guys DO NOT go to Waffle House and ask if they have milk alternatives… we just got destroyed by our server.”
Waffle House’s Beverage Options
Waffle House, known for its variety of breakfast staples and classic, traditional American fare, offers numerous beverage options, including two types of milk, a variety of fountain sodas, whole milk, chocolate milk, fruit punch, orange juice, lemonade, coffee, and sweet tea.
However, alternative milk does not cut. This limitation highlights the restaurant’s adherence to traditional beverage options, leaving little room for dietary preferences or restrictions related to lactose intolerance.
The public reaction to the incident was mixed, with many video viewers lambasting the Waffle House customer for inquiring about alternative milk.
Comments ranged from questioning the customer’s decision to ask about milk alternatives at Waffle House to others expressing their lack of surprise at the restaurant’s limited milk options.
One user commented, “Now why would u go and do that,” while another advised, “At BEST, they have what’s on the menu.”
A third added, “I know she looked at you crazy”
The Shift Towards Dairy Alternatives
In recent years, there has been a notable shift in consumer preferences away from traditional dairy milk towards plant-based dairy alternatives. According to a McKinsey survey, the US market for plant-based dairy grew by 15% from 2019 to 2020, 6% from 2020 to 2021, and 11% from 2021 to 2022 (1). Plant-based milk alternatives like soy, almond, oat, and rice milk are gaining significant traction.
One driver of this shift is growing lactose intolerance among consumers. As McKinsey notes, cow’s milk is designed for calf nutrition, while many adult humans struggle to properly digest the milk sugar lactose. Plant-based options are naturally lactose-free, appealing to consumers with dairy intolerance.
The market has also expanded as plant-based milk quality and variety improves. The UNSW report found today’s plant milks are tastier and more widely available, making them a more appealing dairy substitute (2).
Sustainability concerns regarding dairy’s environmental impact are also fueling growth for plant-based options, which require fewer resources like land and water. Additionally, some consumers choose plant milks to avoid perceived ethical issues with modern dairy farming practices.
However, taste and nutrition still matter. McKinsey found consumers choose both dairy and plant milks primarily for taste, followed by health benefits. While plant milks are gaining ground, dairy milk still dominates with 80% market share in the US.
Most consumers are not eliminating dairy entirely.
Overall, the rise of tasty, nutritious and sustainable plant-based dairy alternatives is significantly disrupting the traditional dairy milk market. But dairy remains popular, especially among consumers prioritizing affordability. This demonstrates a potential for dairy and plant milks to co-exist in many shopping carts.
Factors Influencing Consumption
Taste and health are the primary drivers for consuming dairy and its alternatives. Dairy consumers prioritize taste, while plant-based consumers are more health-motivated.
The report also highlights the increasing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in purchasing decisions, especially among plant-based consumers and younger generations.
About 13% of all consumers are willing to pay for ESG attributes, with a quarter of plant-based dairy consumers willing to pay at least 10% more for environmentally friendly and animal-friendly products.
The insights from the report emphasize the evolving consumer preferences and the need for the dairy industry to adapt to these changing trends and values.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter. It was inspired by this video:
@solcosmica we still love u jennifer #wafflehouse ♬ original sound – Dino
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.