Oat milk has taken over from almond to become the UK’s favorite plant-based milk, as sales of the dairy-free drink doubled in just one year. The new findings, released by global market intelligence agency Mintel, show a record number of British people now count plant-based milk as part of their diet as cow’s milk begins to lose dominance in the market.
“Almost a third of adults drink plant-based milk, evidence of its firmly mainstream status and appeal far beyond the vegan or vegetarian populations”
As consumers – particularly younger ones – increasingly see cow’s milk as more harmful to the environment than non-dairy options, almost one-third (32 percent) of adults are opting for plant-based, up from 25 percent in 2020. Among people aged 25 to 44 that figure rises to 44 percent.
Oat milk is now dominating the market with UK consumers spending a total of £146 million on oat milk in 2020, up from £74m 2019. Total spend on all plant-based milk reached £394m, nearly £100m more than in 2019. The findings also found that 23% of adults agree that plant-based milk is better for them than cow’s milk, while half of adults agree people’s milk choices make a difference to the environment.
The Rise and Rise of Oatly
The findings mirror financial reports coming from oat milk giant Oatly, with the Swedish company posting Q2 revenue of $146.2 million – a 53.3% increase YOY – while also forecasting a further 64% increase in its annual revenue. Oatly is increasing capacity globally, including the opening of a new UK facility, which will be one of the world’s biggest vegan dairy factories.
“Oat milk was the main beneficiary of the accelerated demand in plant-based milk during 2020, overtaking almond milk as the top-selling plant-based milk. Oat milk’s previous robust growth has attracted a lot of innovation to the segment including barista-style varieties. The rapid sales growth of plant-based milk has brought about new product development from established players and new entrants alike,” she added.