Plant-based innovation: disrupting dairy and why the best is yet to come

Klaus Arntz, Ecotone’s Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer, explores the trends that are taking the dairy market in another direction.

The food trend dominating our food system is undoubtedly plant-based. In fact, in 2020 this category grew two times faster than overall food sales1 and by 2030, the market value of the plant-based food sector is predicted to be $161.9 billion.2

But which categories within plant-based will keep people returning, and is this category here to stay for the long haul?

In this article, Ecotone’s Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer, Klaus Arntz, highlights what the company has witnessed within the space as it commits to growing biodiversity through alternative ingredients and proteins – and why he believes “the best is yet to come”.

Younger consumers are shopping plant-based, but what about everyone else?

Studies across the board consistently cite Gen Z and millennials as driving the plant-based revolution, largely due to environmental concerns.

At Ecotone we’re seeing this too, but interestingly, some of these younger audiences will choose dairy at home and opt for plant-based when they’re out and about. You might think it’s a set switch and that once you start buying plant-based alternatives, you don’t go back – but it often starts with a parallel switch.

“And, and, and” – the role of alternative proteins in feeding the future

This varies from country to country; across Europe, we saw Germany catch up with the UK, with Spain following closely behind. Now, more and more shoppers are looking for alternatives, specifically to milk, globally.
While core milk drinkers are unlikely to alter their habits at all, we’re finding a lot more of the over 44s coming on board due to health considerations.

Indeed, people are certainly increasing their consumption of plant-based alternatives, but they may go back. So, at Ecotone, we focus on retaining loyalty to our plant-based alternatives by using quality ingredients from trusted suppliers to deliver on taste while also aligning on health and sustainability. We’re 97 percent vegetarian across our brands to deliver on this. By doing so, we’re helping to reduce the demand for animal proteins that drive deforestation. It’s also why we’re 79 percent organic, so that we can protect biodiversity and feed the land we farm.