Dairy Alternatives Market Report: Size, Share, Trends and Challenges

Chicago, March 04, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Dairy Alternatives Market refers to the sector of the food industry that produces and sells products designed to replace traditional dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter with plant-based alternatives. These alternatives are typically made from ingredients such as soy, almonds, oats, coconut, rice, hemp, and peas. The dairy alternatives market size is estimated at USD 27.0 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 43.6 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 10.1% from 2023 to 2028.

The market for dairy alternatives has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by various factors including increasing consumer awareness of health and environmental concerns, rising lactose intolerance and milk allergies, ethical considerations regarding animal welfare, and changing dietary preferences such as veganism and vegetarianism.

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Dairy Alternatives Market Trends

  • Plant-Based Revolution: The shift towards plant-based diets was a significant driver for dairy alternatives. Consumers were increasingly choosing plant-based options due to health, environmental, and ethical concerns. This trend was particularly prominent among younger demographics.
  • Diversification of Options: The market saw an explosion of dairy alternative products beyond traditional soy and almond-based options. Innovations included oat milk, pea protein-based products, coconut milk yogurt, and cashew cheese, catering to various dietary preferences and allergen concerns.
  • Clean Label and Natural Ingredients: Consumers were demanding cleaner labels and natural ingredients in their food products. Dairy alternative brands responded by emphasizing the use of simple, recognizable ingredients and avoiding artificial additives, flavors, and preservatives.
  • Premiumization: Some dairy alternative products positioned themselves as premium offerings, focusing on higher-quality ingredients, unique flavors, and enhanced nutritional profiles. This premiumization trend aimed to attract discerning consumers willing to pay a premium for perceived quality.
  • Convenience and On-the-Go Options: The market witnessed the introduction of convenient, single-serve dairy alternative products suitable for on-the-go consumption. This included individual yogurt cups, single-serve milk cartons, and grab-and-go snack options, catering to busy lifestyles.
  • Retail Expansion and Mainstream Availability: Dairy alternative products became increasingly mainstream, with expanded shelf space in grocery stores, supermarkets, and mass-market retailers. This broader availability helped to reach a wider consumer base beyond health food enthusiasts.
  • Functional and Fortified Products: Manufacturers began fortifying dairy alternative products with vitamins, minerals, and other functional ingredients to enhance nutritional value and appeal to health-conscious consumers. This trend included products fortified with calcium, vitamin D, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids.

The flavored sub-segment in the formulation segment is estimated to grow at 10.4% during the forecasted period.

Flavored milk alternatives are particularly successful in replicating the creamy and indulgent qualities of traditional dairy milk. With advanced formulation techniques, manufacturers can closely resemble conventional dairy milk in both texture and flavor. Many people choose dairy alternatives because of lactose intolerance, milk allergies, or ethical reasons. Flavored milk alternatives offer a familiar taste experience without compromising their dietary choices. They are often perceived as a healthier alternative to sugary dairy-based products. Manufacturers are increasingly offering low-sugar and fortified versions to cater to health-conscious consumers. Flavored milk alternatives are versatile and can be used in a variety of culinary applications, such as smoothies, desserts, and baking, making them even more appealing. Heat treatment has been used to extend the shelf life of plant-based milk to increase total solids yield and improve flavor; however, excessive heating is found to cause detrimental effects on nutrients (vitamins and amino acids), browning, and the development of cooked flavor. In addition, factors such as changing lifestyles, rising health consciousness, and changing eating habits are driving the flavored & unsweetened segment. The major reason for the acceptability of this category is that these products are extremely consumer-friendly, palatable, and low in sugar. Among other players, Blue Diamond Growers (US) offers unsweetened versions of dairy alternatives in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

Europe is estimated to grow at the fastest CAGR in the dairy alternatives market report

The European Union is one of the biggest dairy exporters in the world. Thus, conventional dairy has a huge share in the European market as compared to dairy alternatives. However, despite the dominance of the dairy sector in the region, a surge in the growth of the dairy and plant-based alternatives sector has been observed in recent years. Many retailers and supermarket giants are adding soy drinks and rice drinks to their product shelves as they are witnessing an increase in sales of dairy alternatives.

Consumers in the European market prioritize health, as well as demonstrating awareness of animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Consequently, they frequently scrutinize product ingredients prior to making purchases. This heightened awareness has led to an upsurge in demand for low-fat and lactose-free food options. As a result, major industry leaders are shifting their focus towards acquiring other businesses and broadening their product offerings to incorporate plant-based dairy alternatives. In 2017, French dairy player Danone acquired WhiteWave Foods, a specialist in dairy alternatives. According to Fi Global Insights 2021, Germany has recently replaced the UK as the top consumer of dairy alternatives in the region. The rise in demand for dairy-free food & beverage products that are environmentally sustainable and healthy is driving the dairy alternatives market in Europe.

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Dairy Alternatives Market Share

Following is dairy alternatives market share:

  • Danone North America Public Benefit Corporation (US)
  • The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (US)
  • Blue Diamond Growers (US)
  • Freedom Foods Group Limited (Australia)
  • Valsoia S.p.A (Italy)
  • SunOpta (Canada)
  • Qatly Group AB (Sweden)
  • Sanitarium (New Zealand)
  • Eden Foods, Inc. (US)
  • Triballat Noyal (France)
  • Earth’s Own Food Company Inc. (Canada)
  • Elmhurst Milked Direct LLC (New York)

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