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One in three Brits drink plant-based milk as oat overtakes almond

Posted: 21 September 2021 | | No comments yet

Plant-based milk shows no sign of slowing down, with oat milk now overtaking almond milk as the premier milk alternative after a strong year of growth.

plant based milk

New research from Mintel suggests a record one in three Brits now drink plant-based milk, with usage up from 25 percent in 2020 to 32 percent in 2021, and almost 44 percent of Brits aged 25-44 are plant-based milk users. Usage of standard cow’s milk continues to be lower amongst younger consumers, dropping to 84 percent of 16-24s compared to 96 percent of those aged 65+.

Mintel also claims that a quarter (23 percent) of adults polled agree that plant-based milk is better for them than cow’s milk, while half (50 percent) of adults agree people’s milk choices make a difference to the environment. Overall, a quarter (26 percent) of adults agree the COVID-19 outbreak has made vegan/plant-based food and drink more appealing to them, rising to 38 percent of under-35s.

“The plant-based trend continues to gain momentum in the UK, fuelled by environmental and health considerations. Almost a third of adults drink plant-based milk, evidence of its firmly mainstream status and appeal far beyond the vegan or vegetarian populations,” said Amy Price, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel.

“While almost ninety percent of Brits use cow’s milk, usage continues to be lower amongst younger Brits than older age groups, as it faces intense competition from plant-based varieties. If they retain their plant-based milk habit as they age, this stands to drive usage across the population upwards over time, fuelling long-term growth for the plant-based milk category.”

Oat milk has quickly become the plant-based milk of choice, according to the latest research from Mintel, as sales of the plant-based substitute almost doubled between 2019-20. Mintel says Brits spent a hearty £146 million on oat milk in 2020, up from £74 million in 2019. By contrast, consumers spent £105 million on almond milk in 2020 compared to £96 million in 2019, resulting in oat overtaking almond to become the nation’s number one selling vegan milk. This comes as total spend on plant-based milk reached £394 million in 2020, increasing 32 percent from 2019 when it was worth £298 million. Meanwhile, sales of cow’s milk reached £3.2 billion in 2020.

“Oat milk was the main beneficiary of the accelerated demand in plant-based milk during 2020, overtaking almond milk as the top-selling plant-based milk,” added Price.

“Oat milk’s previous robust growth has attracted a lot of innovation to the segment including barista-style varieties. The rapid sales growth of plant-based milk has brought about new product development from established players and new entrants alike.”

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