Plant-based milk consumption has increased by triple digits from 2000 to 2016, according to a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts. The same time period saw overall consumption of dairy and non-dairy milk beverages decrease by about 22%.
With 40% of the market share, plant-based milk is the top profit driver within the milk industry, according to the fourth edition of the Dairy and Dairy Alternative Beverage Trends in the U.S and VegNews.
Almond milk in particular dominates the plant-based milk market segment with sales reaching $921.1 million in October 2016.
“Vegetarians and vegans together account for less than 15 percent of all consumers, and their numbers do not grow very rapidly,” Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle explained, “but a growing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarian or lessitarian, meaning that they’ve cut back on their consumption of animal-based foods and beverages. It is this group that is most responsible for the significant and ongoing shift from dairy milk to plant-based milk.”
In an attempt to combat the move toward dairy alternatives, the milk industry challenged the idea that plant-based milks can even be called milks. However, federal courts ruled against them stating any reasonable consumer understands that plant-based milks do not contain dairy.