‘The Plant-Based Revolution‘ is number two of the Top 10 Trends highlighted in a report by Innova Market Insights for 2020 and the dairy alternatives category represents a key battlefront in this consumer-driven revolt. The report mirrors GFI data from last year which showed that plant milks account for almost half the PB market in total.
The new report shows the complexities of consumer demand for dairy alternatives. Lactose avoidance is still a more important issue than veganism, although the vegan juggernaut is certainly not slowing down and will inevitably play a growing role in future demand.
It is the flexitarian movement – led by western markets – that appears to be having most impact on current growth: in nine countries surveyed, an average of 32% of consumers said they bought dairy alternatives simply ‘because they’re healthier’ and 27% ‘because they bring variety to my diet’, helping to incorporate more plant ingredients.
Purchasing of dairy alternatives is still most frequent in Asia and Latin America, which are home to the greatest incidence of lactose intolerance, but these markets remain dominated by milk alternatives, with diversification and segmentation of the category focused on more developed regions. There is an above-average focus on dairy-free yogurt in Europe, for example, while ice cream represented almost a third of all dairy alternative launches in North America in 2018.
Lu Ann Williams, Director of Insights and Innovation at Innova Market Insights comments on the findings: ‘There is real variety in the products emerging in the European and North American markets. Within the past year or two, we have even seen mainstream brands joining the fray, something that many consumers will see as an endorsement of their own emerging interest.