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Got Based Milk? Milk-Alternatives Market Booming.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in 2011 that U.S. beverage milk sales were half of their 1980 levels. This finding speaks to a rise in the consumption of milk-alternative products not just in North America, but globally. The global milk-alternatives market should experience robust growth due to the growing popularity of dairy-alternative beverages.

Milk alternatives are liquids that replace milk in a diet or recipe. They are consumed for many different reasons, including milk allergy or lactose intolerance sensitivity, veganism as a lifestyle, and health concerns over the consumption of dairy milk. The milk-alternatives industry can be classified into following types: soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and others (such as coconut milk, oat milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk).                                          

The global market for milk alternatives reached $5.8 billion in 2014 and should reach nearly $10.9 billion by 2019, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3%. The soy milk category is expected to total $4.4 billion and $8 billion in 2014 and 2019, respectively, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 12.5%. Almond milk as a category should reach $886.8 million and $1.8 billion in 2014 and 2019, respectively, moving at a five-year CAGR of 15.8%. Rice milk, the third-largest category, is expected to move at a five-year CAGR of 14.4%, growing from $291.8 million in 2014 to $571.9 million in 2019. Other milk-alternative categories, including coconut milk, oat milk and hemp milk, are in their budding stage. Relatively new in the market, they are projected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 15.9% because of their health benefits over regular dairy milk.

Asia-Pacific held the highest market share (50.4%) of the global milk-alternatives market in 2013. The North American market held the second-largest share (30.6%), with Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market accounting for remaining 19% market share.

In recent years, consumption of milk alternatives has steadily increased due to a growing number of vegans, and health concerns about the antibiotics and growth hormones often found in cow’s milk. Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are key drivers for new product development, which is growing the market. Other factors for market growth include more consumers converting to dairy-free alternative diets, increased shelf life of alternatives, and continuous product innovation from manufacturers to meet consumers’ evolving needs.

“More consumers may be choosing plant-based options either because of personal preference or because of recommendations from health or nutrition professionals. “Consumers continue to seek plant-based beverages. At the same time, they are becoming more interested in plant-based options for milk that offer great taste combined with the nutrients that can be found in cow’s milk. According to a survey of the American Dietetic Association in September 2012, 87% of dietitians recommend a plant-based diet to some or most of their patients and 70% of those dietitians say that a plant-based diet is nutrient rich.”

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