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The global dairy alternatives market size was valued at USD 25.19 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 28.55 billion in 2023 to USD 69.84 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 13.63% during the forecast period.
Plant-based milk substitutes are leading to the recent surge in demand for non-dairy products or dairy alternatives. Vegan milk is a suspension of dissolved and disintegrated plant extracts in water as a base. Homogenization and thermal treatments are the two processing techniques utilized to improve the suspension and stability of such plant-derived products.
Vegan milk has occupied the center stage in the non-dairy sector and is intensively marketed as a healthy, sustainable, and animal-welfare-friendly alternative. The sources of such alternative products are essentially legumes, nuts, or cereals, which are the recognizable ingredients among most consumers from developed and developing economies. Additionally, the evolution and improvisation in dietary lifestyles, such as veganism and flexitarianism, are fueling the demand for plant milk and associated products.
Disrupted Manufacturing Process and Low Labor Availability Amid Pandemic Impacted the Market Growth
Despite the thriving popularity of dairy-free products, a slight decline in the dairy alternatives market growth was observed in 2020. This is owing to the spread of novel coronavirus across the world. This COVID-19 pandemic caused governments to impose a lockdown to reduce the community transmission among people, affecting several industries. Lower labor availability, restricted capacity of workers, and hampered supply chain, among others are the key reasons that led to lower market growth in 2020. According to the World Trade Association (WTA) 2020, the global trade scenario has been hampered by 20% to 30% due to the pandemic and is expected to take up to two to three years to set up to the previous trend. The imposition of trade barriers also negatively affected raw material availability. According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka 2021 report, coconut production declined 11.3% during the initial quarters of 2020 in comparison to the previous year, attributable to the combined effects of supply chain discrepancies and lower nut production. Thus, raw material scarcity is another factor to impede market growth due to the pandemic. However, the market is partially getting effective as several countries' governments control the situation. Thus, it is expected that the market will exhibit decent growth during the forecast period.
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Emerging Veganism and Growing Inclination of Consumers toward Plant-based Foods to Boost Growth
Plant-based milk is, in fact, not a novel processed food category on its own – some of the key giants, such as Oatly or Alpro, launched such products in Europe in the 1980s. The recent surge in demand for dairy alternatives, coupled with the dynamic growth in the past few years, is due to the robust popularity of plant-based ingredients and rising adoption rates for meat and dairy substitutes. From an environmental standpoint, the dairy and meat sectors are the most significant greenhouse gas emitters. Furthermore, milk and dairy commodities' water and carbon footprint is significantly higher than that of horticultural products. The rising concern about environmental sustainability will positively influence the global dairy alternatives market share expansion in the upcoming years.
Growing Concerns Regarding Processed Dairy Products to Drive the Market Growth
The market for dairy alternatives is primarily driven by lactose-intolerant consumers. Besides, there is an increasing perception among the general consumers that lactose-free products are healthy alternatives to conventional dairy. Lactose intolerance is due to the absence of the enzyme called lactase that breaks down lactose. Nearly 65% of the human population show reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.
Developed markets of Western Europe and North America have witnessed a remarkable fall over the past two decades in the volumetric and value-based consumption of specific dairy categories. Consumers are inclining toward plant-based alternatives, especially in the most prominent markets of dairy products due to their rising concerns over allergens, hormones, and unethical animal husbandry practices prevalent in the dairy sector. The production of dairy products has significant environmental impacts that contribute to soil degradation, air and water pollution, and consequent loss of biodiversity.
Product Innovation and Wider Reach to Ensure Success for Market in Foreseeable Future
Plant milk and milk products are expected to fetch more significant market share and stronger growth rates than their conventional dairy counterparts in the coming years as veganism is set to go mainstream. The growing preference for flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan food lifestyles would further push the sales of plant-based dairy substitutes. This trend, coupled with the ever-increasing health, animal welfare, and environmental issues, may constrain the revenue performance of the dairy sector. The sustainable growth trajectory of products hinges on value-added products that appeal to the nutritional and aesthetic needs of consumers. Moreover, such products must establish effective market penetration along with the economy of the scale so that they are not only widely available and affordable but also accessible at all sales points where dairy products are normally marketed.
Sub-optimal Market Penetration and Low Consumer Awareness to Lower Sales
One of the key restraints in the plant-based milk and milk products market is the organoleptic profiles of such novel products. Processors usually encounter challenges with solubility issues and taste while developing non-dairy products. The repeated purchase rates for these dairy-free products are far below that of conventional dairy products, indicating that the sensory profiles of milk alternatives are not yet at par with that of dairy milk and its derivatives. Moreover, some plant-based milk and its derivatives are very low in terms of both macro and micronutrients. Thus, they cannot compete with conventional dairy products in terms of nutritional content. Soy milk naturally has a protein content similar to cow’s milk. Almond milk, one of the most popular non-dairy options, contains only 1 gram of protein per 8 ounces.
Soy Segment to Exhibit Astonishing Growth Backed by Broader Availability
Based on the source, the market is segmented into soy, almond, coconut, rice, oats, and others. The milk market is heavily commoditized, and thus, consumers are experimenting by purchasing innovative products. Soy milk has been a clear leader in terms of the source, owing to its broader availability in the Asia Pacific market, particularly in China. Nonetheless, almond milk will witness faster growth than all the other sources of dairy alternatives. It is rapidly gaining popularity among consumers as they avoid soy due to allergies or other health concerns associated with the products. Almond milk is low in calories, and recently, almond-based non-dairy products have been witnessing stronger acceptance rates in the North American, European, and Australian beverage markets. These products are also well branded and marketed sophisticatedly, appealing to younger consumers.
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Non-dairy Milk Segment to Lead Owing to Favorable Demand Dynamics
Based on the product type, the market is classified into non-dairy milk, butter, cheeses, yogurts, ice cream, and others. The non-dairy revolution began with the development of milk alternatives. The segment is still dominating the global market, owing to favorable demand dynamics, increasing interest among the key giants and private-label players to develop milk from plant-based sources, and strong growth potential for vegan beverages. However, segments such as vegan ice cream, cheese, and yogurt, would showcase faster growth rates than the non-dairy milk segment owing to their rising popularity among consumers across all age groups. The foodservice sector is rapidly evolving in terms of its product offerings and claims such as ‘non-dairy,’ ‘vegan,’ ‘plant-based,’ and ‘natural’ are experiencing considerable consumer attention. The appeal of vegan foods has now gone far beyond the vegan consumers along with the compelling plant-based label claims projecting offerings such as ‘healthy-indulgence’ among consumers.
Supermarkets/Hypermarkets to Dominate the Market Owing to the Offerings of Novel Products
Mass merchandisers, such as supermarkets/hypermarkets, are leading and holding the largest market share in distribution channels owing to their proximity, accessibility, and affordability. There is a dedicated retail shelf for vegan and plant-based products coupled with attractive discounts offered to entice the consumers and increase their adaptation rates among them. Plant-based products are increasingly developing their own identity. They are undergoing a remarkable transition from their traditional image of being meat or dairy alternatives. These products have successfully moved to the convenience space, and consumers are finding them easy to store, prepare, and eat. Online stores with their robust convenience, enhanced shopping experience, and increased digital literacy rates among individuals are expected to contribute to the stronger growth rate of the segment during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific Dairy Alternatives Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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The market in Asia Pacific is driven by a marked increase in the reported cases of cow milk allergies and lactose intolerance. Additionally, calorie concerns and higher prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and obesity have made consumers shift to vegan diets, thereby adopting cow milk alternatives. Enlightened consumers are becoming highly critical of dairy products' nutritional attributes. These can serve as a cost-effective substitute for poor economic groups belonging to developing countries. They can also be marketed in regions where cow milk supply is insufficient.
North America, with its rapidly expanding retail market and the strain on natural resources, is expected to utilize more plant-based options that have a vital role to play in providing food and nutritional security. Consumers in the region are well-informed about the plethora of dairy alternatives, which are also more readily available than ever before. The regional market will witness growth owing to the rising number of consumers eating more plant-based food and not due to those who are adopting vegan diets. Consumers in Europe are increasingly motivated to seek innovative plant-based products. Furthermore, the concerns regarding plant-based products' sustainability and eco-friendly aspects will generate more sales among the younger cohort. Overall, the global market is set to generate considerable market revenue in the coming years with effective contributions from South America and Middle East & Africa.
In South America, the market is mainly influenced by the rising shifts toward reducing or completely abandoning the consumption of animal-based products, such as dairy items, due to improving health, animal, and environmental welfare concerns. In major economies, such as Brazil and Argentina, the popularity of dairy-free yogurts and ice cream has grown substantially, as prominent players, such as Danoses S.A. and So Delicious, are introducing innovative and attractive options in the vegan segment. The trend is observed majorly among millennials due to their growing interest in plant proteins.
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The Middle East & Africa observes a gradual rise in demand for vegan products, owing to their evolving consumption patterns and diets. This change is mainly attributed to urbanization and exposure to the Western food culture. This shift has also been supported by the growing awareness of the detrimental greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector. The emerging trend of modernization and evolving modern trades are some of the factors expected to support the growth.
Global Market Space is Led by Highly Dynamic and Moderately Consolidated Market Conditions
The global market is moderately consolidated with a significant presence of key dairy alternatives giants. These players are also actively embarking on acquisitions and mergers to further strengthen their position and make a decisive shift to ensure their future growth amidst a decline in the popularity of dairy products. For instance, Danone S.A., a French multinational food-products corporation, recently acquired several leading plant-based brands, such as Silk, Vega, and Alpro, to strengthen its vegan products portfolio. The competitive intensity of the market is expected to enhance during the foreseeable years if such globally recognized players develop and offer alternatives that are not only nutritionally adequate and environmentally sound but also economical and acceptable. At the same time, they are constantly trying to keep up with the dairy substitutes market trends to create more products.
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The global dairy alternatives market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, market segmentation, product types, and leading distribution channels of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends, key players, and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth prospects of the market in recent years. Along with this, the report provides an exhaustive analysis of the market dynamics and competitive scenario. Various critical insights presented in the report are the overview of related markets, recent developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory situation in prominent countries, and key industry trends.
CAGR of 13.63% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion)
By Product Type
By Distribution Channel
Fortune Business Insights says that the global consumption was USD 22.25 billion in 2021.
Exhibiting a CAGR of 13.58%, the market will exhibit robust growth in the forecast period.
Non-dairy milk segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market.
Growing awareness among consumers regarding the health benefits of these products and increasing number of cases of lactose intolerance around the globe are the key factors that drive the market growth.
Danone S.A., Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, Blue Diamond Growers, SunOpta, Inc., and Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd. are the top players in the market.
Asia Pacific held the highest market share in 2021.
Robust popularity of innovative products, increasing investments by key dairy companies, organizations, & angel investors, and strong popularity of veganism and flexitarian diets are the latest market trends.
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