Plant-based milk is the most developed of all plant-based food categories globally. According to research from The Good Food Institute, refrigerated plant-based milk is nearly 90% of the category in the US while the rest is shelf-stable.2
Why Consumers Are Buying
The proliferation of plant-based milks has made the milk aisle increasingly competitive. However, there may be more to this competition than meets the eye. Mintel reports that 74% of U.S. plant-based milk consumers also purchase dairy milk.3 So why are they buying plant-based? The top reasons are:
Health includes protein (in particular plant protein, which has a health halo) and lower calories, as consumers are increasingly checking the nutrition label before buying. Nearly 2 in 5 US consumers indicate they perceive dairy alternatives as healthier for you than traditional dairy.4 Health also encompasses the shift toward a flexitarian diet. Lactose intolerance is an important driver in as well.
The Rise of Plant-Based Milks
A couple of decades ago, plant-based milks could only be found in shelf-stable aseptic Tetra Pak cartons in the natural foods section like rice and soy milks. But when brands burst onto the scene in refrigerated cartons and was sold next to milk, beverage history was made.