The Rise of Non-Dairy Milk

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In recent years, plant-based milk has seen a rather dramatic growth, with global sales booming like never before. As per a Neilson Scan data from 2018, dairy-free milk has seen a record growth of more than 150% over 5 years and the upward trend is likely to continue. If current research reports are to be believed, in the next 5 years by 2024, the global plant-based milk market is likely to cross the 34 Billion USD mark!

The wide range of plant-based milk options available in the market include Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Coconut Milk, Cashew Milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk and Quinoa Milk, with Soy Milk holding the highest share globally. There are a number of reasons why people are drifting away from milk as we traditionally know it to be, towards non-dairy milk variants. The perceived health benefits of non-dairy milk makes for a strong case. Plant-based milks have less sugar, more fibre & proteins compared to livestock milk as well as an abundant amount of omega 3 fatty acids.

Further, cow’s milk (comprising a large percentage of livestock milk) contains lactose that leads to digestive issues. As a matter of fact, according to a 2018 report, 2/3rdof the world population is lactose intolerance making it a key factor determining in their choice of plant-based milk. Additionally, non-dairy milk provides antibiotic and hormone-free products, which further makes it a hit amongst health-conscious people. However, the most vital factor that works for plan based milks is the production process – completely free of animal cruelty.

As non-dairy milk is increasingly finding its place in the consumers’ refrigerators, more and more brands are waking up its increasing demand. Seeking to adapt to this shift in consumption, a number of brands are launching non dairy variants of their dairy products. Ice cream giant Haagen-Dazs saw value in investing in a non-dairy line in 2017, making the launch a first for the brand. Within a year, it expanded the range to include ice cream bars and new flavours, obviously as a result of positive consumer response. France based company, Danone had the foresight to make an early foray into the industry. Back in 2016, it expanded its product line by acquiring American Soy Milk producer, White Wave Foods for a whopping $10 billion.

It is safe to establish that plant-based milk is a rapidly evolving category with exciting future prospects. It remains to be seen which brands “milk” this opportunity well and shine bright in this category. The key is to get into it sooner rather than later. With a number of plant-based milk players investing substantially in food products development to improve the quality of their offering, it’s only a matter of time before the demand sees a substaintial rise globally.

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