Dairy alternatives increasingly seen as complementary to dairy products: survey

The company, which supplies cocoa, coffee, dairy, nut and spice ingredients, asked over 1,500 consumers in Germany, France, UK, Italy and Sweden about their attitudes to the plant-based beverages, desserts and ice-cream market.

The survey revealed interest in plant-based products continues to grow, showing high potential for plant-based as something new and complementary for European diets. 61% of consumers indicate that they are consuming more plant-based products than two years ago, and 58% expect it to increase in the coming two years.

Dairy alternatives specifically are carving out an identity beyond being a mere substitute, according to ofi. Two-thirds (67%) of consumers see plant-based dairy as complementary to dairy products, and ‘an opportunity to try something new’ (65%), particularly for indulgent product categories including ice-cream, desserts and cocoa beverages.

But players are missing significant opportunities in this market, ofi said. The plant-based beverages, desserts and ice-cream market is worth an estimated €5.3bn in 2022, according to Euromonitor data. Yet there is significant opportunity if key formula challenges faced by manufacturers can be addressed. For example, over a third (35%) of the consumers polled are dissatisfied with the plant-based dairy product they tried. Further, 8% of consumers switched back to dairy as they did not like the first plant-based product they tried. More than a fifth (22%) of all those polled do not believe plant-based products can taste great. Even current users (61%) say that bad taste and texture is preventing them from consuming more plant-based products.

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