Plant-based milk expected to replace dairy in food service, according to new market report

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As veganism continues to grow, so does the plant-based milk market, which is expected to grow steadily and potentially replace dairy in food service.

Plant-based milk alternatives are expected to replace dairy in food service on a large scale, with the alt-milk market forecast to grow at a 9.4% compound rate annually from 2020 to 2030, according to new research.

The report by Persistence Market Research suggested that the rising interest in plant-based meat has seen parallels with the growth of dairy alternatives, with soy milk accounting for the largest market share in 2020 at 38.3%, followed by almond milk.

The market research study also revealed a rise in dairy-free ready-to-drink beverages (like Bright Barley). It points to the range of diverse flavours and essential nutrients for the rise in interest, with some products being plant-based ready-to-drink coffee and tea, with flavours including vanilla, chocolate, orange, as well as barista versions.

Another trend to come out of the plant-based milk market is the rise of almond and oat milk. The report alludes to the health benefits of almonds and oats for the growing popularity of those alt-milks.

While plant-based milk has been witnessing tremendous growth over the last few years, Asia Pacific has the highest share values in the plant-based milk market. Countries like China, India and Indonesia are leading producers of soy, coconuts and rice, and consumption of these foods have been ingrained in the culinary traditions of these nations for thousands of years. Europe is showing a significant value share in the market too, and the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are also expected to see a growth in the coming years.

The report also touched upon the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the plant-based milk — and, in general, vegan food — market. While sales of food and beverage products overall have declined due to lockdowns around the world, the alt-milk industry has been affected by low production and supply chain disruptions.

However, the lockdown saw an increase in sales for plant-based food products. A recent report by Olam Cocoa revealed that over lockdown, the most popular vegan product among consumers was plant-based milk, with over half the survey respondents saying they bought alt-milk.

“The global plant-based milk market is anticipated to exhibit significant growth, with Asia-Pacific projected to offer substantial growth opportunities during the forecast period of 2020-2030. More and more consumers are preferring plant-based milk products over dairy products, which is a considerable factor for the growth of the global plant-based milk market in the foreseeable future,” said analysts from Persistence.

They added: “Leading market players such as Groupe Danone, The Hain Celestial Group Inc, Blue Diamond Growers, Inc, and others are focusing on business expansion and targeting product innovation to strengthen their positions in the global plant-based milk market. Increasing production capacity and improvement in quality are other strategies that are being adopted by key players to gain a competitive edge in the global plant-based milk market space.”

Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.