As consumers shift toward healthier beverage consumption, the demand for variety and desire to meet individual consumer needs is driving the dairy milk substitute market. These needs vary from awareness of food allergies and intolerances to the desire for vegetarian options, along with seeking nature-based ways to gain other types of nutrition.
Why Consumers Choose Alternatives to Dairy Milk…
Traditionally, those diagnosed with lactose intolerance turned to soymilk for a nutritious source of protein that was not dairy based. The needs of consumers with allergies to soy protein was met with beverages like rice milk; however, while delicious tasting, it did not provide many nutrients.
According to a Datamonitor report in 2010, 28% of US consumers avoid certain food or beverages for allergy or intolerance reasons. So the need for variety and other options became a focus for manufacturers of milk alternatives.
Other significant drivers in the milk alternative market is the growing popularity of those who are living a vegan lifestyle and avoiding animal products, along with consumers seeking “free of” claims:
Free of antibiotics and growth hormones
Formulating Dairy Alternatives
When formulating beverages from various grains, nuts or other plants sources, developers must contend with a variety of issues. Grinding the nuts or grains into a fine powder can leave some residual solids that can settle to the bottom of the container. Adding fortification ingredients like calcium to improve nutrition content can also present a settling issue and therefore, not deliver what is promised on the label. Some milks like those made from coconut have nature-based occurring fats that may separate and rise to the top of the container. Others are very thin and need additional body and creaminess to create the right mouthfeel that consumers desire in milk substitutes.
Some of the more popular new beverage products launched in recent years include milks made from almond, coconut, hemp and oat. Milks made from grains like quinoa are also showing up. Here are some of the attributes of dairy substitutes and the nutrition they bring to consumers.
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