Category Archives: Dairy vs non-dairy milk

Dairy Milk Is Losing Ground To Non-Dairy Alternatives


As alternatives to dairy milk have been increasingly available, sales of the former have declined sharply in recent years, according to new research from Mintel.

In 2015 alone, dairy milk sales dropped 7% ($17.8 billion), and a further fall of 11% is anticipated by the year 2020. These sales decreases are being driven, the Mintel report says, by consumer perceptions that alternatives may or do offer superior health benefits. The increasing competition from such alternatives as soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and the like also is causing retail prices for dairy milk and dairy milk products to fall, a fact reflected in the overall sales volume fall-off.

At the same time, sales of alternatives to dairy milk continue to increase. They were up 9% in 2015, for a total of $1.9 billion in sales.

The continuing, growing popularity of non-dairy milk is troubling to dairy milk producers, as nearly half (49%) of Americans consume non-dairy milk – including 68% of parents and 54% of children under the age of 18 – and seven in 10 (69%) of consumers agree that non-dairy milk is healthy for kids compared to 62% who agree that dairy milk is healthy for kids.

Among non-dairy milk consumers, nearly half (46%, including 57% of parents) drink it at least once a day. Their reasons for doing so including a perception non-dairy milk products are more heart-healthy and better suited for weight loss programs.

While an overwhelming majority of Americans consume dairy milk (91%), it is most commonly used as an addition to other food (69%), such as cereal, or as an ingredient (61%). Just 57% of consumers drink dairy milk by itself.

“In addition to half of Americans consuming non-dairy milk, our research reveals that nearly all non-dairy milk drinkers also drink dairy milk, revealing that consumers are turning to non-dairy out of preference as opposed to necessity,” said Elizabeth Sisel, Beverage Analyst at Mintel.

“Consumers are also less likely to drink dairy milk by itself, instead adding it to food or as an ingredient, undoubtedly contributing to the category’s steady decline in consumption. This signals a need for brands to communicate the benefits of consuming dairy milk as a beverage, especially among parents, who are more willing than consumers overall to drink non-dairy milk and buy non-dairy milk for their children as a better-for-you alternative.”

Mintel research indicates that product and ingredient innovation could lead to further adoption of non-dairy milk. In fact, 30% of Americans would be encouraged to drink/drink more non-dairy milk if it had more protein. One in five (18%) Americans would also be drawn to drink more non-dairy milk with the addition of beauty benefits (eg skin, hair health), including 19% of men age 18-34.

“Our research shows that the difference in when and how much consumers are drinking milk demonstrates that dairy milk is still the go-to option, but it also exposes an opportunity for greater non-dairy milk market penetration. Consumers are connecting their diets with the way they look and feel. This creates opportunities for non-dairy milks to promote health in a number of areas for both men and women, from wellness and nutrition to beauty benefits such as hair and nail health,” continued Sisel.


I will be very appreciative if you will encourage your friends, family and colleagues to check out what my two blogs – Food and – do in the interest of providing information you might, otherwise, never become aware of. You never know: Some of my research could prove useful, or possibly amusing, to you (and/or them).

I also encourage you to check out the blogs of people I am following and Commotion In The Pews, a blog I stumbled upon a year or so ago. The author of the latter is a fascinating guy who cultivates the appearance of the character he plays through a good part of December each year: Santa Claus.