Plant based milk sales continue to soar

As veganism continues to gain popularity and consumers become increasingly health-conscious trending and this IBIS World has reported a soaring demand for non-dairy milks.

The research company said that over the five years through 2019 to 2020, profits of soy, almond, coconut and rice milks are expected to grow at an annualised 8.3 per cent.

“A rising perception that alternative milk products are healthier than dairy milk has boosted sales over the past five years. As a result, the industry’s success over the period has largely come at the expense of the dairy sector,” said IBISWorld senior industry analyst, Matthew Reeves.

The per capita milk consumption is expected to decline at an annualised 0.6% over the five years through 2019-20, while per capita plant-based milk consumption is expected to increase at an annualised 16.9 per cent.

Currently plant based milks account for about 7 per cent of all milk drunk in Australia.

“The greatest decline in per capita milk consumption has come from reduced and low-fat milk. This trend indicates that the preferences of health-conscious Australians are changing from the perceived healthier varieties of dairy milk to non-dairy alternatives,” said Reeves.

Soy milk is the biggest segment in the soy and almond milk industry accounting for over 47 per cent of revenue, despite stiff competition from other milk varieties, like almond milk and coconut milk. Almond milk accounts for 44 per cent of industry revenue.

Coconut milk is rising in popularity among vegans in particular, along with coconut water and shredded coconut. It is expected to account for 3.3 per cent of industry revenue in 2019-20.

“One area that had traditionally limited the Soy and Almond Milk Production industry’s growth was the relative incompatibility of the products for use by cafes. Alternative milks have generally had a tendency to split when heated, making them less suitable for coffee applications than dairy milk. However, industry operators have developed successful barista-friendly dairy milk alternatives, creating a new avenue for industry growth,” said Reeves.

The range of alternative milk designed for cafes has expanded in recent years. Freedom Foods’ MilkLab, a non-dairy milk for baristas is popular, along with its Almond Breeze Barista Blend added to its range later on. Dairy company Lion also released the Vitasoy Café for Baristas range.

“Demand for hemp milk, which has only been legal for consumption since November 2017, is forecast to grow substantially over the next five years. Pea protein milk is also gaining traction among consumers. Freedom Foods has launched three flavours of pea protein milk since October 2018 to compete with imported products, such as from the United States-based Ripple Foods,” said Reeves.

Due to the rising competition from alternative milks, the traditional dairy sector dealt with it by claiming the term ‘milk’. Dairy farmers said these alternatives aren’t from animals and should be called juice instead. Organisation Australian Dairy Farmers called on the Federal Government to review and revise regulations on them.

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