Dairy alternatives are food & beverage products that are similar to certain types of dairy-based products, in terms of texture and flavor as well as the nutritional benefits they offer. They are lactose-free and are used to replace dairy-based products. They are manufactured using cereals such as oats, rice, wheat, barley, and nuts. MarketsandMarkets expects the global dairy alternatives market to grow from USD 17.3 billion in 2018 to USD 29.6 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.4% during the forecast period.
How is the growing demand in emerging markets creating an opportunity for market growth?
The demand for dairy alternative food & beverage products is high in the developed markets of the US and Canada. Consumer preference for vegan products is rapidly rising as marketing campaigns are planned for highlighting their use and health benefit claims. Developing countries such as China and Australia are expected to experience a sharp upsurge in demand for dairy alternatives in the future. This demand may be driven by an increase in consumer preference for vegan diets. However, the demand for the use of dairy alternatives is expected to grow at a modest pace in early adopting countries such as the UK and Italy, while exponential growth is projected in new and emerging markets such as Australia and other Asia Pacific countries. Developing economies such as China and India are expected to experience a strong increase in the demand for dairy alternatives. In addition, the growing health awareness and rising lactose intolerance among consumers in the emerging Asia Pacific market make the market more lucrative.
The main drivers boosting the dairy alternatives market in the Asia Pacific region are:
- Penetration of a modernized retail chain
- High demand, coupled with low cost of production
- Increase in the production of processed and convenience foods
What is the challenge posed by the limited availability of raw materials?
Rising deforestation in developing countries results in the scarcity of raw materials for dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, and rice. Further, extremely cold climatic conditions in countries such as the UK, France, and Spain hamper the production of agricultural produce. For instance, soy milk is produced from whole soybeans or full-fat soy flour; almond milk is made from ground almonds that are free from lactose and cholesterol; oat milk is lactose-free milk obtained naturally from oats, other grains, and beans. The unavailability of these agricultural raw materials restricts the production of alternative dairy beverages by European manufacturers.
The setting up of a large number of industries in developing countries such as China and Australia has diminished the availability of agricultural land. This creates a scarcity of raw material and prevents the production of dairy alternative products.
In terms of geographical coverage, the dairy alternatives market has been segmented into five regions, namely, North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, South America, and RoW. Europe is projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period, as Europeans are health-conscious and often check the ingredients on product labels before purchasing them. This high level of awareness has resulted in the demand for lactose-free or low-lactose, low-calorie, and low-fat foods in Europe. The increasing demand for dairy-free food & beverage products is driving the dairy alternatives market in Europe.
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The major vendors for dairy alternatives include The Whitewaves Food Company (US), The Hain Celestial Group (US), Blue Diamond Growers (US), Sunopta (Canada), Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company (Australia), Freedom Foods Group (Australia), Eden Foods (US), Nutriops S.L. (Spain), Earth’s Own Food Company (Canada), Triballat Noyal (France), Valsoia S.P.A (Italy), Dohler GmBh (Germany),Organic Valley (US), and Panos Brands LLC (US). These players have adopted various growth strategies such as expansions and new product launches to expand their presence in the global dairy alternatives market further. New product launches have been the most dominating strategy adopted by major players. This strategy has helped them to increase their presence in different regions.
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