Although cow’s milk has long been associated with good health, it has experienced gradual sales declines in the past two years as prices fluctuated and consumers avoided fat, calories and added sugars, according to Chicago-based Mintel’s April 2014 report “Milk, Creamers and Non-Dairy Milk – US.” As a result, alternative dairy brands are sweeping in and driving category growth by meeting consumer demands for nutrition and variety, it says.
Alternative dairy drinks have been the fastest-growing segment for the past two years, Mintel reports. In the 52 weeks ending April 20, the refrigerated kefir, milk substitutes and soy milk segment increased nearly 20 percent in dollar sales in U.S. multi-outlets, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Almond milk’s recent surge in popularity is helping to drive this growth, Mintel’s report states. In fact, almond milk’s share of the category grew to 60 percent in 2013 from just 3 percent in 2008, Santa Monica, Calif.-based IBISWorld notes in its December 2013 report “Soy & Almond Milk Production in the US.” This growth came at the expense of soy milk, which has declined from accounting for 87 percent of the category’s revenue in 2008 to 30 percent in 2013, IBISWorld’s report states. Consumers have been switching from soy milk to almond milk because they consider almond milk to taste better and enjoy the lower calorie content of almond milk compared with soy milk, according to Chicago-based Euromonitor International’s November 2013 report “Drinking Milk Products in the US.”