Dairy Alternative Beverages in the U.S.: Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Rice Milk and Other Dairy Milk Alternatives
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Packaged Facts estimates that total U.S. retail sales of dairy alternative beverages reached $1.33 billion in 2011.
Plant-based milks have a long history in both Eastern and Western cultures, with references found in early European cookbooks as well as Oriental literature from the 1500s. Derived from soy, oats, nuts, seeds, legumes, hemp, rice and others, plant milk is a generalized term without legal description or qualifiers. There are a number of varieties of plant milks offered in the retail market, and there are other plant milks not yet produced commercially that have the potential to impact the market in the future. Some of these milks are produced commercially in other countries and could possibly enter the U.S. market in the future.
Consumers choose plant-based dairy alternative beverages for numerous reasons. Health issues including lactose intolerance, milk allergy, and the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) can be addressed through the consumption of dairy alternative beverages because these plant-based milks are free of animal proteins, in particular casein. Others who are primary consumers of dairy alternative beverages include vegans, vegetarians and people concerned about antibiotics or growth hormones often found in cow’s milk.
Currently, the most commonly known and popular of the commercial plant milks is soymilk. Following in consumer recognition and consumption are almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk, in that order of preference. Additionally, hemp milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk, flax milk, sunflower milk and multigrain milk are available at the retail level, although they enjoy only a very minor market share. Quinoa, lupine, pea, peanut, cashew, and sesame are also used to make RTD plant-based milks in countries other than the United States. These products carry the potential to enter the U.S. market at a later date on a commercial scale, either through domestic production or importation.
The various types of plant-based dairy alternative beverages are available in an array of formulations. These include: flavored, sweetened, unsweetened, low-fat, lite, fortified, and others that are manufacturer-specific, including blends formulated to address specific qualities such as promoting heart health, digestive health, energy, and calcium absorption.
Scope of Report
This report examines the U.S. market for plant-based, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages that are alternative substitutes for dairy milk, sold to consumers at retail. These products include beverages made from plant-based ingredients including soy, almond, rice, nuts, seeds, hemp and/or a combination of grains. These beverages do not contain any dairy products.
This report estimates and analyzes the size, growth rate, and composition of the plant-based beverage market. Historical sales data, as well as market forecasts to 2016, are provided for soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk and hemp milk, as well as coverage of minor products such as flax, hazelnut, multi-grain, oat and sunflower milks. Strategic analyses of competitors in this market are included, as well as descriptions of recently introduced products. Trends and regulations influencing this market are discussed. Importantly, data from Packaged Facts’ extensive proprietary survey of consumer attitudes and usage trends relating to plant-based beverages are provided.