Growing climate consciousness among consumers has been playing a crucial role in the growth of the dairy alternatives market. With the increasing prevalence of lactose intolerance and food allergies, the uptake of dairy alternatives products in key regions has substantially surged.
In recent years, consumers have been opting for dairy-free alternatives over dairy products for several reasons, particularly for their health benefits and concerns regarding the environmental footprint of dairy production and animal welfare, among other factors.
Supported by burgeoning product demand, the dairy alternatives market share is estimated to grow to reach more than $49 billion by the end of 2028, according to a recent report by Global Market Insights Inc.
How big is the alternative milk industry?
Milk is a key product in the dairy alternatives sector. The plant milk market is slated to exceed a valuation of $21 billion by 2026, as per a research report by Global Market Insights Inc. In the alternative milk industry, almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and oat milk, are some of the most common dairy alternative products.
Notable trends contributing to the growth of the global dairy alternatives industry over the forecast period have been discussed as follows:
- Increasing presence of manufacturers
With booming growth potential, the dairy alternatives market has attracted numerous companies in the past few decades. Additionally, to establish a strong foothold in the sector, the companies have been investing in product development and innovation, which has enhanced the competitive landscape of the market.
To cite an instance, in November 2021, Blue Diamond Growers, a prominent almond company, added the Almond Breeze Extra Creamy Almond milk to its Almond Breeze range. The new almond milk promises the same creamy consistency as whole milk. It is made from almond oil from the firm’s California-grown almonds to give an extra creamy texture to the product. Its creamier texture was meant to be an effective solution for a hurdle that many consumers encounter, i.e., plant-based milk is much thinner than dairy.
In another instance, in March 2022, Califia Farms, a plant milk specialist, launched three new plant milk products namely Vanilla Oat Milk, Unsweetened Almond Barista Blend, and Original Oat Milk in Australia to cater to soaring product demand in the region. Undeniably, the growing number of manufacturers attempting to gain a competitive edge in the industry is foreseen to impel dairy alternatives market progress.
2 . Mounting research activities in the sector
The emergence of new lifestyles, such as veganism & vegetarianism as well as sustainability challenges viz., greenhouse gas emissions & water pollution has pushed researchers to innovate products that would serve as a substitute for animal milk. In addition, with the rising awareness pertaining to dairy alternatives products among consumers, there has been an upsurge in the need for robust research activities on their nutritional impact.
Research studies have focused on assessing the nutritional content and health benefits to determine how their inclusion translates into improving a diet’s nutritional value. Leading government and health agencies have conducted such studies, which have found that the adoption of plant-based diets could have favorable impacts on animal, human, and environmental health, which is driving the demand for dairy alternatives products. In conclusion, rising awareness regarding the advantages of dairy alternatives is fostering the overall industry outlook.
3 . Growing significance of upcycling in the industry
Upcycling is gaining massive prominence in the food & beverage industry with companies seeking solutions to reduce food wastage that happens every year around the world. Right from offering dairy alternatives to fruit pits to making functional proteins from cabbage waste, the upcycled food space has witnessed much innovation in recent years.
For instance, in March 2022, SunOpta, a global leader in plant-based food & beverage products, introduced OatGold, a protein powder that has been made using upcycled oat milk waste. The nutrient-rich powder can be utilized in spreads, baked goods, snacks, and dips. OatGold has been created from insoluble solids that are a byproduct of the firm’s oatbase production. Oatbase is the chief ingredient in oat milk. The powder is claimed to have thrice the amount of protein as oat flour, along with high fiber content. It is also certified gluten-free and has a neutral taste.
In addition, OatGold has received certification as part of the Upcycled Certified Program, the only third-party certification program of its kind specifically devised for upcycled products in accordance with the standards set by the Upcycled Food Association. The growing trend of upcycling is projected to create major growth opportunities in the industry in the coming years.
Promising growth in the adoption of dairy-free alternatives
Companies in the dairy alternatives industry are focusing on offering extensive product portfolios to address different consumer needs and evolving diet preferences. Moreover, the expanding consumer base in tandem with favorable trends in the sector is also offering massive growth potential for the business. Global Market Insights Inc. projects dairy alternatives market to register a double digit CAGR of 10% through 2028.