Dairy alternative consumption to reach $19.5 billion in 2020

Dairy alternative consumption is set to rapidly rise globally as Asian-Pacific consumers increasingly turn to products like rice milk, soy milk and almond milk.

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, global consumption of dairy alternatives projected to grow 15.2 per cent over the next five years.

Dairy alternatives are lactose-free, which resemble a milk-like texture and are used to replace dairy-based products. They are produced through various cereals such as oats, rice, wheat, barley, and nuts.

Globally, the health benefits of dairy alternatives have led to its large-scale adoption in numerous applications.

Changing lifestyles, growing health awareness, increasing cases of lactose allergy, and growing application sectors are some of the factors driving the growth of the dairy alternatives market.

The Asia-Pacific region dominated the dairy alternatives market last year, and is set to nearly triple in size over the next five years.

“The growing health awareness, rising preference for vegan diet, and rising cases of lactose intolerance and milk allergy in this region are also driving the market,” the report said.

In order to improve the nutritional value of products whilst increasing sales, dairy alternative manufacturers are presenting new flavours and fortified products, including those with calcium and vitamin D, to the market.

Some companies may use the term ‘dairy-free’ to describe lactose-free or low-lactose products for those consumers with lactose intolerance. Or they may use it on products that are free of traditional dairy ingredients such as milk and cream but not free of milk derivatives such as caseinates or whey.

However, if the products contain milk protein, they are unsafe for individuals with milk allergy. Unfortunately, those with milk allergies cannot rely on "dairy free" claims and will need to scrutinize the ingredient statement for evidence of milk.

While non-dairy is a term that is frequently used on coffee creamers, it is also used similarly on various other products containing caseinates.

Many in the industry are excited to see a natural evolution of businesses that aim to address weight, lifestyle and diabetes concerns.