Dairy-free food

Dairy-Free Milk Has Grown 36 % In 3 Years, and It’s Not Slowing Down

Whereas different segments of the plant-based meals business have fluctuated in recent times, dairy-free milk continues to realize market share of its animal-derived counterparts. During the last three years, gross sales of dairy-free milk have grown by 36 % at a compounded annual development charge of 11 %, in accordance with information compiled by nonprofit Good Meals Institute, Plant Primarily based Meals Affiliation, and market insights agency SPINS.


So why is vegan milk nonetheless on the up and up?

“Plant-based dairy has grown tremendously over the previous few years and its development is pushed by shopper values from these following a weight loss plan, avoiding allergens, [and] those that are involved with the sustainability of the dairy business,” Dan Buckstaff, Chief Advertising Officer at SPINS, tells VegNews.

“There are quite a lot of buy drivers which might be reshaping the non-animal dairy and plant-based dairy business, as these merchandise are [driven] by necessary shopper values and the way that impacts what they add to their carts.”

Why is vegan milk performing so properly?

The worldwide dairy-free milk market, one other market insights agency Grand View Analysis predicts, will proceed to develop by a compounded annual development charge of greater than 14 % between 2021 to 2028, with main corporations comparable to Danone, Nestlé, and PepsiCo already working the sector.

Buckstaff explains that the vegan milk class is outperforming different plant-based segments as a result of the merchandise are nearer replacements for his or her animal counterparts.

Califia Farms

Firms like California-based Califia Farms—which lately launched a line of oat and almond milks made with solely three substances—are additionally rapidly heeding the patron name for shorter labels.

Merchandise comparable to vegan burgers and cheeses are usually formulated to be as indulgent and flavorful as doable to higher compete with merciless and environmentally damaging animal merchandise. Nevertheless, shoppers at the moment are scrutinizing them by a well being lens, as properly.

“Within the various meat class, the distinction in merchandise is extra substantial,” Buckstaff says. “Plant-based meat for instance has a bigger variety of substances and flavorings that don’t at all times enchantment to shoppers searching for clear label choices. When it comes to style and texture, some plant-based cheeses are nonetheless engaged on perfecting these particulars to match dairy cheese.”

“For shoppers who’re flexitarian particularly and are selecting backwards and forwards between plant-based and animal-based merchandise, these variations are necessary of their decision-making,” he says.

Outdoors of cleansing up its labels, the plant-based milk class stays widespread as a result of it continues to increase past its soy, coconut, and almond roots into new bases comparable to potatoes, sesame seeds, pecans, and extra.

“From nuts to seeds to greens to oats, there are tons of choices for shoppers to select from, and this innovation has created a long-lasting buying habits amongst consumers,” Buckstaff says.

Oat milk makes a splash

Out of the numerous vegan milk bases, oat milk is changing into the darling of the sector, which has been traditionally dominated by almond milk. Final 12 months, oat milk had a very nice 12 months, with gross sales rising by 50.52 %, the biggest general development within the class which noticed a 6.4 % uptick to just about $2.3 billion throughout the 52-week interval by July 2022.


Oat milk is obtainable broadly, together with at Starbucks, and is now a default choice at widespread espresso chains comparable to Blue Bottle and Stumptown. So why did oat milk get so widespread?

“Oat milk was one of many first popularized plant-based milks that wasn’t constructed from soy or nuts and served as an alternative choice to plant-based consumers with frequent soy and nut allergy symptoms,” Buckstaff says.

“A few of its recognition may be attributed to sustainability considerations introduced forth by plant-based consumers that shied away from soy and nut milks due to points with extra water consumption, land use, and emissions,” he says.

Buckstaff explains that substances in some oat milk formulations—comparable to oils and sugars—could be of concern for some consumers and he expects improvements on this class.

“Within the brief time period, oat milk will proceed to be widespread amongst consumers searching for plant-based options, however in the long run we anticipate a excessive stage of ongoing innovation on this class that shift share in favor of different choices—just a few rising developments embody hemp and pea milk,” he mentioned.

The way forward for dairy

Because the local weather disaster rages on, the necessity to rethink the worldwide meals system is extra urgent than ever—and shoppers are demanding meals corporations clear up their carbon footprints. Producers of conventional animal dairy milk, Buckstaff says, have been working to include extra sustainable practices and relay environmental messaging to shoppers.

“One of many major adjustments we’ll see within the brief time period is a rise in messaging and choices amongst animal-based dairy, much like what we witnessed when natural merchandise first hit theshelves, there might be much more choices for shoppers to select from that match their life-style,” he says.

Tomorrow Farms

Nevertheless, bettering the carbon footprint of resource-intensive animal milk is a tall order. Some innovators at the moment are seeking to take the animal out of the dairy and meat equation altogether, as a substitute counting on biotechnologies comparable to precision fermentation (a course of that replaces animals with microbes in producing proteins).

“There are quite a lot of very thrilling new applied sciences which have the potential to essentially disrupt our meals system,” Buckstaff says.

One main participant within the precision fermentation house is Excellent Day, which makes use of the biotechnology to supply animal-free whey that’s now displaying up in new dairy-identical vegan milk, ice cream, sports activities diet merchandise, and extra.

“Whereas cultivated and mycelium meats are making headway and may be very attention-grabbing sooner or later, I feel that precision fermentation across the dairy house goes to take advantage of disruption within the subsequent two years,” he says. “We’re already seeing gadgets pop up on retailer cabinets in varieties together with ice cream and protein powders.”

“Empirically talking, this subject has been at all kinds of conferences as properly, displaying the sheer depth of curiosity,” he says. “The standard of the merchandise additionally appears to be properly forward of a number of the different examples.”


Large corporations additionally assume that the standard of merchandise made with Excellent Day’s animal-free whey are superior. In recent times, Mars, Nestlé, and Bel Group (the French cheese big behind iconic cheese manufacturers Babybel, The Laughing Cow, and extra) have all explored animal-free dairy merchandise in partnership with Excellent Day.

“Search for the headlines to proceed to develop round precision fermentation this 12 months with a chance for gross sales disruption in 2024,” Buckstaff says.

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