Per capita consumption of fluid milk beverages decreased by close to 22% from 2000 to 2016. Regarding dairy industry trends throughout the same period, consumption of non-dairy plant-based milk alternatives has increased by triple digits. The decrease in dairy milk consumption can be interpreted as each consumer going from 10 glasses of milk each week to eight glasses per week, not much on an individual level but enormous when viewed in terms of the whole population on an annual basis. Even so, milk is still being consumed in over 90% of the households in the U.S. No doubt many other products would like to be able to make that claim
Dairy Alternatives Gaining Popularity
The milk industry has reacted by challenging the very notion that the plant-based beverages can even be called milks. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has taken the lead on encouraging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) to enforce its own food standard for milk which would exclude plant-based products from being referred to as milk. Federal courts have ruled against the efforts to stop plant-based dairy alternatives from being called milk since any reasonable consumer understands that there is no dairy element in plant-based milks and is, indeed, purchasing them for that reason. The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), a trade association founded in 2016 and representing 75 of the nation’s leading plant-based food companies, attributes the lack of action on the part of the FDA as an implicit endorsement of the position that labels such as soymilk do not generate confusion among consumers.
Trends & Opportunities in Dairy and Dairy Alternatives
Dairy and Dairy Alternative Beverage Trends in the U.S., 4th Edition examines the reasons behind the decline in dairy milk consumption and the reasons for the rise in plant-based milks, such as health concerns, with a growing number of consumers coming to believe that plant-based foods are healthier than animal-based foods. Further, the report considers the growing consumer base that is motivated by animal welfare concerns, leading them to choose plant-based beverages, as well as other plant-based foods over animal-based products.
Dairy and Dairy Alternative Beverage Trends in the U.S., 4th Edition also reviews the efforts being made by dairy companies and the dairy industry associations to stem the downward spiral through the introduction of products enhanced with protein and other nutrient and the use of more flavors. The report also looks at the other dairy beverage categories, such as drinkable yogurts, kefir, and dairy milk-based coffees which are gaining ground even as stand-alone milk consumption goes down.
Scope & Methodology
Dairy and Dairy Alternative Beverage Trends in the U.S., 4th Edition uses consumer data gathered through Packaged Facts’ Online Consumer Survey of some 2,000 adult consumers conducted in September 2017 and also the 2017 12 Month NHCS Adult Household Study conducted by Simmons Research LLC, with data from the Spring 2010, 2015, 2016, and 2017 studies.
Market estimates within this report were based on both public and syndicated data sources including U.S. Census Bureau retail food sales data from the Economic Census surveys, annual retail channel sales, non-employer statistics, household income data, etc.; U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis annual estimates for consumer spending by food type; major food and beverage retailer annual reports and press releases for individual retailer sales; publicly available data from other industry sources including trade associations such as the International Dairy Foods Association and the Foods Association (PBFA), and print and online publications such as DairyReporter.com; company websites, Facebook and Twitter pages for advertising and marketing images and messaging. Packaged Facts has analyzed available sales and trend data, together with information pertaining to those products that move through unmonitored outlets, to estimate the total size of the market for dairy and dairy alternative beverages.