- Live Real Farms launched a Dairy Plus product line that features either a half-and-half combination of oat milk and dairy milk or almond milk and dairy milk, according to a release.
- The company says the blended milks have the creamy texture of dairy with the flavor of the respective alternative milk. Each blend also has less sugar and calories than conventional dairy.
- Product testing is taking place this summer at Walmart, Fresh Thyme and Cub Foods stores in the Minneapolis area. The product will sell from $3.99 to $4.69. It will be rolled out regionally in the fall, with nationwide availability slated for a later date.
The word "milk" has been a touchy subject for several years with dairy companies insisting it only pertains to the protein-rich liquid that comes from animals. But alternative dairy producers don’t see the definition of the word the same way. As a result, the divide between animal and plant-based dairy has remained contentious with seemingly few companies willing to bridge it.
Despite the continuing arguments over the word itself — which is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration — consumers are still drinking both beverages regularly. About 44% of milk-consuming Americans purchased both dairy and plant-based milk in the last year, according to a survey of 2,010 adults conducted by Dairy Management Inc. So Live Real Farms, which is owned by the dairy co-op Dairy Farmers of America, decided to give consumers both in one glass.
The blended trend has already made waves in the meat industry. Perdue recently debuted chicken nuggets blended with vegetables, Applegate released mushroom and meat blended burgers and Tyson released a hybrid patty made with a blend of beef and pea protein isolate. This co-op is looking to do the same with milk.
Plant-based milk is a hot category in the beverage market right now with plant-based dairy outpacing traditional milk in revenue. Non-dairy milk sales in the U.S. have increased 61% from 2012 to 2018 while sales in the dairy milk category have dropped 15% since 2012.
Just over half of American say they believe that eating more plant-based foods makes them feel healthier, according to a recent study from DuPont Nutrition & Health. And when it comes to plant-based beverages specifically, a survey found that consumers tend to buy them for the taste, perceived health benefits and sustainability of the products.
To highlight the health aspects, the new milks tout their lower sugar content, which will likely generate some interest from shoppers. At the same time, these blends benefit from naturally elevated protein levels. Protein has been a top functional ingredient for several years and is something that alternative milks have struggled to provide. To try and combat that deficiency, Ripple pea milk has focused its marketing on the beverage's protein levels, but other options like almond milk still lag behind.
Changing consumer preferences are now forcing the hands of dairy companies across the country to rethink their products. This blended option from Live Real Farms may be a golden opportunity to give the dairy industry a lifeline. If it proves to be popular, it won’t be long before similar products hit the market utilizing other alternatives, including pecan, quinoa, hazelnut and flax milks.