Milk alternatives:
a trend of the times

Plant-based milk drinks are continuously growing in significance, acceptance and variety. For the first half of 2019, GfK registered strong volume growth by 26.5% in the German market. The segment gained 21.1% in value.
Once a niche product for vegans and allergic consumers, it has now become a mainstream product with a coverage of roughly 25% of German households as of today.

Though only a small number of Germans live consistently vegan, a growing number of consumers identify as flexitarian: they foster a more conscious eating culture, search for new taste alternatives to traditional milk and strive for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Learn more about product and packaging concepts with attractive margins and new chances for brand profiling and approaching of future generations.

The Power from Plants

While the number of innovations in white and flavoured milk is declining, new launches in the plant-based milk drinks segment have been growing for years.

In the Beginning there was solely soy

Only five years ago, soy was at the top of the list of milk alternatives and was basically all there was. Today, the market for milk alternatives is much more diverse: products made from soy are losing market shares to alternatives made from almond and rice. Currently, oat drinks are on the rise. Mixed drinks from cow’s milk and plant-based drinks are increasing on European supermarket shelves.

“The lifestyle of younger consumers, which is moving away from animal ingredients, will heavily influence the growth of the plant drinks category in Europe,” says Julia Buech from the British market research company Mintel. Especially Millennials seem to feel like they are doing something good: for themselves and the environment. “In the US and UK, plant drinks are mainstream.”

Julia Buech
Global Food & Drink Analyst


Did you know?

Soy milk has been produced in China since at least the 14th century, mainly as a primary product for tofu.
The first historical mention of almond milk can be found in a cooking book from Bagdad from the year 1226.
Up until 1990, milk alternatives, for example made from soy or grains, were banned in Germany.
In 2008, soy milk was the only alternative to cow’s milk.

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