With vegan alternatives such as almond, soy and oat milk becoming increasingly common on our supermarket shelves and more popular amongst consumers, it would be natural to assume this means that the dairy sector is starting to lose traction in the marketplace. However, AHBD Dairy, a not-for-profit organisation working on behalf of Britain’s dairy farmers, has said that this fear is unfounded based on their research.
The report, published in August, highlights that whilst the demand for plant-based alternatives is growing, the sale of cow’s milk remains stable. In fact, consumer spend on cow’s milk in the year up to 16th June 2019 grew by 2.2%, mainly due to higher prices, whilst volumes sold remained relatively flat at 0.4% down on the previous year.
Ultimately, plant-based beverages still only represent 4.4% of the total liquid milk market in 2019, giving dairy farmers little cause for concern at the current time. The fact that the volume of sale for cow’s milk has flattened whilst the sale of plant-based alternatives has grown is an indicator that people are trying these alternatives as something new, rather than switching away from cow’s milk entirely.
Organic milk on the rise
Over the 12-month period, the volume of organic milk sold rose by 2.6%, though Hannah Clarke, analyst at AHDB Dairy, suggest this is down to existing consumers buying more per trip as opposed to an increase in new customers.
Nut and oat milk challenge soya
New entrants into the nut and oat drink sector are taking market share away from soya drinks rather than cow’s milk. In the 52 weeks up to 16th June 2019, nut-based beverages have overtaken the market value of soya by £18 million. Oat-based beverages have also seen significant growth over the same period, and now have a market value equal to more than half of that of soya’s.