Having become an integral part of the offerings on supermarket shelves, plant-based milk alternatives can now increasingly be found on the menus of small and large cafés. The alternative milk market is experiencing rapid growth, which is why we celebrated World Plant Milk Day on 22 August this year.
Plant milk has long since ceased to be a niche product. Whether it’s soy, oats, rice, almonds, cashews, peas, or hemp – more and more plant-based raw materials are now being processed into milky drinks that are just as suitable for specialty coffees, ice cream, and baked goods as their animal-based counterparts. Due to the fact that the variety of plant milks allows for everyone’s taste to be met, plant-based dairy drinks are not only appealing to vegans and vegetarians, but are also enjoying growing popularity among omnivores and allergy sufferers.
WORLD PLANT MILK DAY ON 22 AUGUST
World Plant Milk Day celebrated the diversity of milk alternatives. Initiated by ProVeg and Plant Based News, various campaigns around the world drew attention to the ecological and health benefits of plant-based drinks over conventional cow’s milk. Among other ways of participating, cafés were asked to support the campaign by not adding a surcharge for soya milk and other plant-based options to their speciality coffee and by offering drinks containing plant milk at a discount.
Last year, ProVeg and Plant Based News reached over 1.5 million people through their joint social media channels. If the reach of partner organisations is taken into account, the actual number of people reached was far higher.
CURIOSITY, CLIMATE, HEALTH: MANY REASONS FOR CHANGING DEMAND
The plant-milk sector is one of the fastest-growing market segments for animal-free products. In addition to the variety of flavours, this is mainly due to health reasons as well as animal welfare and environmental protection.
The myth of the necessity of cow’s milk for a healthy diet has long since been refuted. In the latest iteration of Canada’s Food Guide, conventional milk and dairy products were removed as a separate nutrition category and instead classified as part of the protein category, which also includes fortified soya milk, pulses, nuts, and seeds. As such, the daily consumption of dairy products is no longer recommended. This shows that cow’s milk is not necessary for a healthy diet.1 In fact, the contrary appears to be true since 75% of the world’s adult population is lactose intolerant, which means that animal milk is not suitable for most people.2
THE CONVINCING PROPERTIES OF PLANT-BASED MILK
Foam strength is an important feature for many coffee connoisseurs. Numerous companies have launched high-quality alternatives that are in no way inferior cow’s milk when it comes to frothing. Both established plant-milk pioneers and private label brands now offer special barista variants that meet the requirements of the various speciality coffees. It’s worth a try!
EXCUSE ME, ARE THERE ANY PLANT-MILK OPTIONS FOR MY COFFEE AVAILABLE?
Last year, sales of animal-based dairy products fell by USD 1.1 billion, compared to the previous year.3 In contrast, the market for plant milk is on the upswing: a market research study estimates that, between 2019 and 2026, the sector will grow by an annual average of 9.1% to reach 28.3 billion dollars.4 This is a clear trend that the out-of-home market should take as an opportunity to integrate plant-based milks and dairy products into its menus.
The prices of alternative products are still usually higher than their animal-based counterparts, but, as a result of rising demand, the price level will continue to fall, as has already happened in some cases. The forward-looking restaurant or cafe owner recognises that the long-term loyalty of customers is important – it would be a shame to lose a loyal regular to the neighboring café just because they already offer a cappuccino with soya milk or oat milk on their menu.
- Government of Canada: Canada’s Food Guide. Online unter https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/ [17.06.2019]
- Silanikove, N., G. Leitner & U. Merin (2015): The Interrelationships between Lactose Intolerance and the Modern Dairy Industry: Global Perspectives in Evolutional and Historical Backgrounds. Nutrients. 7, p.7312–7331
- Dairy Farmers of America (20.03.2019): DFA Reports 2018 Financial Results. Online unter http://www.dfamilk.com/newsroom/press-releases/dfa-reports-2018-financial-results [24.06.2019]
- Data Bridge Market Research: Global Dairy Alternative Market – Industry Trends and Forecast to 2026. Online unter https://databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-dairy-alternative-market/ [17.06.2019]