Alternative Drinks

2012 State of the Industry: Dairy Drinks & Alternatives

July 18, 2012
KEYWORDS almondmilk / dairy / kefir / Soymilk
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Soymilk continues to be the most popular dairy alternative beverage today, Virginia Lee, senior research analyst at Chicago-based Euromonitor International, tolddairy Beverage Industry in its November issue. However, the research firm estimates that sales of soymilk declined 5.8 percent from $981 million in 2009 to $924 million in 2010, and another 8.5 percent reaching $846 million in 2011.

Lee attributed soymilk’s decline to the increasing popularity of additional dairy alternatives such as almond milk and coconut milk. Broomfield, Colo.-based WhiteWave Foods, which offers the Silk soymilk line that continues to lead the dairy alternative category in sales and market share, launched Silk Pure Almond in 2010. Silk Pure Almond reported a nearly 59 percent increase in dollar sales for a total of $102 million in sales in U.S. supermarkets, drug, gas, convenience and mass merchandise retailers, excluding Walmart and club stores for the 52 weeks ending April 15, according to Chicago-based market research firm SymphonyIRI Group.

WhiteWave Foods also added Silk Pure Coconut milk, which tallied $16 million in sales during its debut year, according to SymphonyIRI sales data. Silk Pure Coconut is available in Original and Vanilla flavors with 80 and 90 calories in each serving, respectively. In addition, the company added Silk Fruit & Protein soymilk beverages in Mango Peach, Mixed Berry and Strawberry Banana early this year.

Sacramento, Calif.-based Blue Diamond Growers offers a flagship line of Almond Breeze almond milks, which ranked No. 2 with nearly $105 million in dollar sales on SymphonyIRI’s list of top refrigerated kefir/milk substitutes/soymilk brands in measured channels for the 52 weeks ending April 15. In September, the company expanded its portfolio with the launch of a new line of dairy alternative blends. Blue Diamond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend is available in Almond Coconut Original, Almond Coconut Original Unsweetened, Almond Coconut Vanilla and Almond Coconut Vanilla Unsweetened varieties.

New dairy alternatives also are emerging such as SōL from Hope, Minn.-based Sunrich Naturals. Made from sunflower kernels, SōL is available in Unsweetened, Original and Vanilla flavors and comes in shelf-stable aseptic 32-ounce Tetra Pak containers. Hemp milk also is gaining mainstream appeal. Pacific Natural Foods, Tualatin, Ore., launched three new varieties of hemp milk: Unsweetened Original, Unsweetened Vanilla and Chocolate.

While soymilk and almond milk are the top dairy alternative contenders, Lifeway Foods’ Lifeway Kefir brand landed the No. 6 spot on SymphonyIRI’s list of top refrigerated kefir/milk substitutes/soymilk brands in measured channels during the 52 weeks ending April 15. The company added distribution in several major accounts recently and last year marked its 25th anniversary with a Birthday Cake-flavored variety.

Last year, Dean Foods launched TruMoo, a line of better-for-you flavored milks that contain 15 to 20 percent less sugar than typical flavored milks and just 40 more calories than unflavored white milk in each serving, the company says. Depending on regional and retailer variations, TruMoo can be available in Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla and Coffee flavors in gallons, half gallons, quarts and single-serve bottles as well as in schools, which carry a fat-free variety. BI

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