- The global dairy alternatives market will surpass $35 billion by 2024, according to a new report from Grand View Research.
- The segment’s growth is due in large part to increased consumer awareness of plant-based milk and dairy products and their nutritional value, as well as a growing number of lactose intolerance cases across the globe. Other factors include more interest in vegan diets due to animal rights and environmental concerns.
- Since 2012, milk alternatives excluding soy milk have seen sales soar 145%. Cow milk has decreased 14% and soy milk posted a 45% decline, according to Euromonitor.
Beverages continue to be a major segment for plant-based dairy, as almond, cashew, walnut and coconut milks continue to grow in popularity for drinking and cooking purposes. Almond milk boosted its share to 28% of new dairy product launches last year.
Though soy milk consumption has fallen, it remains the most dominant non-dairy item, accounting for more than 40% of the total market, according to the Grand View Research report.
Functionality and health claims continue to be a major driver for plant-based dairy. Manufacturers positioned more than 90% of dairy alternatives launched in 2015 with a health claim, such as lactose-free, natural ingredients or being free of additives or preservatives.
Instead of waiting for these plant-based dairy products to threaten their own brands’ dominance, such as Danone’s Dannon and General Mills’ Yoplait brands, these companies have chosen to capitalize on growing interest in the segment through VC investments and acquisitions.
In July, Danone made a $12 billion bid for WhiteWave Foods, a leader in plant-based foods and premium dairy products, and General Mills’ 301 Inc. co-led an $18 million funding round for plant-based dairy producer Kite Hill in May.