Move Over Cow's Milk; the Non-Dairy Business Is Booming
Considering lactose intolerance affects some 75% of the world’s population, it’s amazing cow’s milk has held its ground as long as it has. But times are changing, and healthy, protein-packed milks made from nuts, oats, and seeds are taking over store shelves.
According to Mintel, non-dairy milk sales in the U.S. have grown a whopping 61% over the last five years. The industry was expected to hit $2.11 billion as of last year. Meanwhile, cow’s milk is on the outs. Overall dairy sales have fallen 15% since 2012.
While dairy still outsells non-dairy overall, the tables are clearly starting to turn.
So what are the cool kids drinking? Almond (64%), soy (13%) and coconut (12%) continue to dominate the non-dairy market, but other kinds of milks are rapidly popping up. Think pecan milk, banana milk, and quinoa milk.
“While almond, coconut and soy milks remain the most popular types of non-dairy milk, other nut and plant bases are gaining traction, including pecan, quinoa, hazelnut and flax milks,” said Megan Hambleton, Beverage Analyst at Mintel.
“Both established and new brands are taking advantage of the growing non-dairy milk segment, innovating with alternative non-dairy bases. Innovation will be a catalyst to drive the category forward in 2018 as both mainstream bases like almond and alternative plant bases offer added functional benefits and unique flavors. We predict that new plant bases such as cashew and rice will allow new entrants into the non-dairy milk category to eventually surpass the soy milk segment, one of the first non-dairy milk segments to really take off with consumers.”
The research also reveals that nearly one in five (19%) Americans say they are consuming less dairy for health reasons. Here's a shocking statistic: for each glass of milk, your risk of dying from any/all causes increases by 15%. Dairy consumption increases your risk of cancer, digestive issues, obesity, diabetes, and even osteoporosis (though we've been led to believe the opposite). Clearly, milk doesn't do a human body good.
Luckily, from Califia Farms to Ripple to So Delicious, there are countless companies churning out delicious non-dairy alternatives these days. And it's not just milk -- there are Greek yogurts, cheeses of every variety, coffee creamers, half and half, and more. If you're new to territory, you can taste an array of options at Seed Food + Wine! There's no better time than now to ditch that cow's milk and opt for an alternative.