Leading this market growth are companies dedicated to developing innovative processes and formulations of dairy-alternative food and beverages featuring soy, hemp, and flaxseed, among others.
The global market for alternative dairy drinks is on track to reach $16 billion in 2018, up from $7.4 billion in 2010, according to a report by Innova Market Insights (Arnhem, Netherlands). Leading this market growth are companies dedicated to developing innovative processes and formulations of dairy-alternative food and beverages featuring soy, hemp, and flaxseed, among others.
According to Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, a key factor in this growth is continued consumer desire for lactose-free, dairy-free, plant-based, and vegan options-and not only for those with allergy considerations. In addition, she says, “The category has been further boosted by the growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional dairy lines, particularly beverages, but also cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts and ice cream, creamers, and cheese.”
In 2016, dairy-alternative drinks accounted for 7% of global dairy launches recorded by Innova. In addition, it says, global alternative-dairy drink launches have more than doubled in the past five years alone. Over half of the products launched were lactose-free, it says, and nearly 40% were vegan. The market researcher notes such market developments as Danone’s (Paris) acquisition of WhiteWave in 2016, and the expansion of Want Want’s (Shanghai) existing product range into soy and other plant-based beverages. China, in particular, shows promise in alternative-dairy market-Innova cites a compound annual growth rate of 18.7% forecast between 2010 and 2018, with market value to reach $6.7 billion-a CAGR that is much higher than the U.S.’s CAGR of 10%.
While soy-based food and beverage products remain popular, the market has expanded to include other plant-based ingredients as well. “In the move to offer something new, we are starting to see an increasing variety of non-soy plant-based alternatives, including cereals such as rice, oats, barley, and nuts-such as almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias-as well as more unusual options such as hemp and flaxseed,” noted Williams in a press release. “There has been ongoing launch activity for a range of increasingly sophisticated flavors and blends of non-dairy milks from different sources. In line with the milks market as a whole, there has been a strong move into fashionable milk-based coffee drinks.”
Innova Market Insights will present new data on consumer trends at the 2017 IFT Food Expo in Las Vegas in June.
“Plant Powered Growth” was one of Innova’s top trends for 2017, especially for consumers looking to incorporate some, but not all, of the staples of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, it says.