Global sales of liquid milk from cows fell by 3.5 per cent in the five years to 2017 and one factor has been the growing popularity of plant based alternatives. However, these have not been without their challenges.
Almond-based milk has the largest share of the plant-based market in the US with 64 per cent, but some consumers are concerned about the amount of water used in almond cultivation. Soya milk sales have fallen after a debate about its health benefit and risks.
In contrast oat milk sales surged almost 50 per cent in the US in the twelve months to August. That compares with 9 per cent growth in overall plant-based milk. One reason is that it is really good with coffee and consumers like its texture.
Demand has expanded rapidly that leading Swedish producer Oatly has been forced to pause international expansion so that it can supply existing markets in the US and UK. PepsiCo, owner of Quaker Oats, is hoping to cash in by launching oat milk lines to US consumers.
Biotech starts ups are developing dairy free proteins using biological fermentation techniques.