Dairy alternatives are set to be one of the top trends of the coming year, as more consumers adopt a flexitarian diet, a new study by FMCG Gurus has found.
According to FMCG Gurus, some 26% of consumers now identify as flexitarian, leading to growing numbers looking to moderate their intake of products such as dairy and meat.
The dairy alternatives market in particular, is proving to be big business, and is getting bigger. One of the largest producers of oat milk, Oatly, recently sold a minority stake worth $200 million to an investor group featuring musician Jay-Z, and TV host Oprah Winfrey. The business is now worth an estimated $2 billion.
Elsewhere, a number of major firms are staking their claim in the dairy alternatives market. Unilever offers a dairy-free version of its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, as well as a vegan Cornetto SKU, while General Mills has expanded its Oui by Yoplait yoghurt product range into the plant-based category.
One of the key reasons why consumers are embracing dairy alternatives is due to sustainability concerns. According to FMCG Gurus, 73% of consumers are concerned about the state of the environment, and they see greater consumption of of plant-based products as a potential solution.
In addition, despite the best intentions of many that start a plant-based diet, many are accustomed to the taste of dairy – another reason why consumers may be slow to embrace dairy alternatives.
According to FMCG Gurus, 73% of European consumers saying that taste is the most important factor when consuming dairy alternatives. With this in mind, while it's likely that we’ll see more dairy substitution in products such as ice cream, yoghurt and cheese, producers of these products need to ensure that new product innovations meet consumers' taste expectations.
Need For Convenience
'When addressing the evolving alternative dairy industry, it is important for brands to understand that sustainable claims and convenience are two key factors,' FMCG Gurus said in its report.
'Consumers are actively seeking sustainable products which offer health benefits and can easily be incorporated into their daily diets hassle-free. Therefore, the market needs to reassure consumers that products are not only sustainable, but high in sensory appeal.'
Although labelled as a trend, the demand for dairy alternative products is not fleeting, and it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, as evidenced by the enthusiasm at which some of the largest dairy brands jumped at the chance to establish their presence in the market.
The next step for the producers of dairy alternative products is to explicitly show to customers the benefits of consumption for health and environmental reasons, whilst also providing a great taste that measures up against traditional dairy.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.