FMCG Gurus

15th June 2022

The Growing Plant-Based Market in 2022 –
Dairy Alternatives


The plant-based dairy market is well
established, with nearly half of all consumers saying that they turn to such
products to some extent. With the dairy alternative market starting to mature, consumers
are looking to expand beyond the category of plant-based milk into other
dairy-alternative products.

Health Impacts

One of the main reasons consumers are
turning to plant-based dairy products is due to the health benefits of these
products and some of the negative connotations surrounding dairy products. Due
to the impact of the pandemic, there’s an increasing concentration on
preventative health. Consumers are more aware of how different aspects of their
health can impact their overall well-being and are looking to protect
themselves against potential health threats. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found
that 71% of consumers who eat or drink dairy alternatives do so as they view
plant-based alternatives to be healthier than regular milk products.

There is room in the plant-based dairy
market to appeal to health-conscious consumers with fortified dairy alternative
products, especially those who are concerned that they will be missing out on
certain nutrients if they remove or reduce dairy in their diets. The last
couple of years has resulted in consumers taking a greater interest in
functional ingredients and how they can provide a health boost beyond basic
nutrition. In particular, consumers want to maximize their protein intake with
77% of consumers associating protein with benefitting general health and wellness.
Brands should make sure that health claims are labeled clearly to help reassure
consumers that they are not making a compromise when purchasing plant-based
dairy products.

Additionally, to improve their health, consumers
are looking to reduce the amount they snack. However, many consumers say that
due to a lack of time they often replace meals with snacks. Therefore, brands
should look to provide accessible and convenient products for consumers who
lack time and are likely to turn to snacks. This can help reassure consumers
that the products are guilt-free and conveniently nutritious.

dairy alternatives

Environmental Impacts

Another main reason for consumers turning
to plant-based dairy products is sustainability. Recently, there has been
attention on the impact the dairy industry has on the environment and the
potential ethical issues surrounding dairy farming. Many consumers are looking
for products that have less of a negative impact on the environment and are
more sustainable.

FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that,
globally, 75% of people think sustainability claims are important when buying
dairy alternative products. Therefore, it is important that brands make their
sustainability claims clear and readily available. However, as many consumers
are skeptical of claims made, it is also important that brands are able to back
up their claims with evidence.

Barriers to Overcome

As with plant-based meat products, many
consumers looking for dairy alternatives say that they want the products to
taste as close to dairy products as possible. Although health and
sustainability claims are increasingly important to consumers, taste is still
the most important factor for most when choosing products. FMCG Gurus consumer
insights found that 60% of global consumers who eat or drink dairy alternatives
say that it is important that dairy alternatives can be used in the same way as
dairy products. Brands should make sure that their products can be used as
similarly to dairy products as possible.

50% of consumers state that they would
prefer for dairy alternatives to be labeled as plant-based as opposed to vegan
friendly. This could be due to plant-based products being associated with
purity and naturalness, whereas vegan-friendly products may be associated with
compromise or sacrifice. Additionally, 42% of consumers who have seen the V-label
sign associated it with a premium price, this could act as a barrier for
brands. To overcome this, brands should offer affordable options to appeal to a
wider market.

This article is based on FMCG Gurus – Meat & Plant-Based – Global Report – 2022. For more information, please click here.

Will Cowling

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