Nut milks on the up versus soy milk in Australia’s analog sector expansion
Nut milks in Australia appear to be on the rise, with almond milk in particular experiencing very strong growth.
Both traditional dairy milks and milk alternatives, including soy and grain milk, are expected to grow in the next five years. Australian Food News reported in July 2014 that market research organisation IBISWorld expected milks of all kinds to post yearly growth of 3.9 per cent to reach revenue of $4.2 billion by 2019-20.
IBISWorld found that milk alternatives — including soy milk, grain milk and nut milks — had posted significant growth in the past few years. It said this popularity had been driven by growing demand for health food products that are perceived to be low in fat while offering higher levels of protein, essential minerals and iron.
In October 2014, Australian Food News reported that global market research organisation Mintel had found that the Australian almond industry had grown from 10,000 tonnes to 78,000 tonnes in 2013, with almond milk experiencing growth of 93 per cent.
Nut milks launched in Australia recently
California-based almond growers and almond products company Blue Diamond growers, whose products are distributed in Australia by Freedom Foods, has launched two new almond milk products in the last six months.
Australian Food News reported in August 2014 that Blue Diamond Growers had launched a new ‘Almond Breeze Barista Blend’ in Australia — an almond milk blend that has been specially formulated for baristas. The Company also launched a ‘Hint of Honey’ almond milk product in late 2014. It said the product was developed in response to consumer demand for a honey variety of almond milk.
However, other nut varieties are also being made into other nut milks. For example, Australian Food News reported in November 2014 that macadamia nut producer Patons Macadamia had launched its own range of Macadamia Milk under the Suncoast Gold brand.
Australian food manufacturer Freedom Foods recently reported that its non-dairy beverage sales continued a strong upward trend from the 2014 financial year, with strong volume growth compared to the previous corresponding period, reflecting increased market share of Australia’s Own Organic and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze brands within a category, which itself grew significantly. Freedom Foods said that in February 2015, the Almond Milk category accounted for 33 per cent of the retail non-dairy category, compared to 28 per cent at February 2014. The Company said other alternative categories including Almond Coconut blends and Macadamia milk, which also increased share, would see Freedom Foods continue to sell and develop products to increase its participation in these emerging categories.
Global nut milk trends
Meanwhile, non-dairy creams and milks are gaining popularity elsewhere in the world as well.
Australian Food News reported in June 2014 that market research organisation Mintel had found fresh dairy cream was declining in popularity in the UK, dropping by 2 per cent between 2011 and 2013 to 52 million litres, while volume sales of non-dairy creams increased by 12 per cent over the same two year period to reach 19 million litres in 2013.
At the same time, alternatives to cow’s milk also enjoyed increased popularity in the UK. Mintel’s research showed that volume sales of non-dairy milks (such as soy milk, rice milk, and nut milks) reached 92 million litres in the UK in 2013, an increase of 155 per cent on 2011 when 36 million litres of non-dairy milks were sold. Lactose-free milks also saw healthy growth in this time period, with sales of fresh lactose-free milk increasing by 55 per cent between 2011 and 2013 to reach 17 million litres in 2013.
Plant-based milks considered ‘healthier’
Mintel found that over one in ten (11 per cent) of UK consumers drank soy milk, 7 per cent drank other cow’s milk alternatives (such as goat’s milk, rice milk or almond milk) and 5 per cent drank lactose-free milk. Around a quarter (27 per cent) of UK consumers agreed that plant-based milk was ‘healthier’ than cow’s milk and almost one in ten (8 per cent) agreed that drinking milk could upset their digestive system and leave them feeling bloated.