The plant-based milk industry has grown over the last decade, and it’s not going away any time soon. In fact, plant-based milk is the largest plant-based category and is growing globally by 15.5% annually during the forecast period of 2022-2029; as a result, the value of plant-based dairy products in the market have reached USD $38.90 billion and is expected to reach the value of USD $123.20 billion by 2029 [1].

This recent surge in popularity is driven by millennials, people with dietary restrictions, and those concerned about the environment. Oat milk has emerged as a popular alternative to other plant-based milks, with its mild, less sweet taste making it a versatile ingredient for use in a range of recipes. This has led to a focus on high-quality ingredients and transparency, with product launches highlighting the sources of oats used. The alternative milk industry is also seeing an expansion of flavors and ingredients, with companies such as bubblegum flavor and others adding ginger to its plant-based milk. Plant-based milk made from fruit and vegetables is also becoming more popular, with options including potato, avocado and chia seed milks. Convenient Packaging is also playing a key role with consumers as they would rather purchaser plant-based milk products with packaging that is easy to use and convenient.

Rise of Oat Milk: A Trending Plant-Based Milk

When it comes to consumer preference, almond milk is still the top choice, with 63% of shoppers choosing it as their favorite dairy alternative. However, coconut and oat milk are also popular options, with 48% and 46% of shoppers preferring them respectively [3].

Oat MilkOne of the most notable developments is the rise of oat milk as a leading plant-based milk alternative. This is likely due to several factors, including the fact that oat milk has a milder and less sweet taste than many other plant-based milks. This makes it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of recipes and applications such as smoothies, lattes, or baked goods.

Additionally, oat milk has been the subject of many innovative product launches in recent months. These launches have focused on using high-quality, simple ingredients, and have often highlighted the specific regions or farms where the oats are sourced. This focus on quality and transparency is resonating with consumers and has helped to establish oat milk as a top choice among plant-based milk alternatives.

Expanding Flavors and Ingredients in the Alternative Milk Industry

Ingredients for different flavors

One trend to watch out for is the expansion of flavors and ingredients in plant-based milk and milk alternatives. Milk producers are trying to keep up with the demand for diverse and unique flavors and are launching new products with different flavors to cater to different demographics. For example, HiLo School has launched a bubblegum flavor, which is a nostalgic taste for some consumers. Vinasoy Fami has added ginger to their plant-based milk, positioning their product as a healthy option, as 72% of shoppers believe ginger is good for their bodies. Cimory has also introduced a biscuit milk innovation, which is reminiscent of the popular biscuit dunking habit [2][4].

These flavors may seem unusual to some, but they cater to the 14% of global population who typically choose unusual flavors. In the Asia and Australasia region, this percentage rises to 17%, making it an attractive market for these new product launches [3].

In addition to the expansion of flavors, specific formulations can also catch the attention of consumers. The addition of vitamins is a surefire way to establish the product as healthier, as 72% of consumers believe vitamins are good for the body. Immune boosting ingredients are also considered an essential driver to purchase by 45% of global shoppers [3].

The Rise of Plant-Based Milk from Fruit and Vegetables

Plant-based milk from fruit and vegetables is not new. In fact, it has been around for centuries. The earliest records of vegetable-based milk go back to ancient China, where people used to create a milky substance by soaking dried soybeans in water overnight and then straining out the pulp. However, plant-based milk from fruit and vegetables has recently seen an increase in popularity due to its low environmental impact.

One such option is potato milk, which has emerged as a new plant-based milk option for consumers looking for something different without sacrificing health benefits or flavor. Some other varieties that have hit the market are milks made from avocado, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, flaxseed, bananas, hemp, and barley.Vegan potato milk in two glass and potato in plate on gray background. Plant based milk replacer and lactose free

The production of plant-based milk from fruit and vegetables has also become more cost-effective, making it an attractive option for manufacturers to explore. With the growing demand for plant-based milk options, the fruit and vegetable milk industry is one to watch in 2023.

The Importance of Convenient Packaging in the Plant-Based Milk Industry

One of the key drivers for shoppers when it comes to plant-based milk is the convenience of the product. According to a recent study, 40% of shoppers consider “easy to use” features to be a key or essential driver when it comes to purchasing plant-based milk. A further 45% labeled it as a “nice to have” feature [3].

This means that it is important for brands to ensure that their plant-based milk products are easy to use and convenient for consumers. One way to do this is through the packaging of the product. Stand up pouch packaging, for example, offers several benefits when it comes to plant-based milk.

Stand up pouch packaging is portable, resealable, and easy to store and pour. This makes it an ideal option for consumers who are looking for a convenient way to enjoy their plant-based milk. Additionally, the packaging can be designed in a way that enhances the product’s useability, making it even easier for consumers to use and enjoy.

Grow Your Plant-Based Dairy Operations with JBT

When choosing equipment to manufacture plant-based milk, you want a company that will partner with your plant and design a solution tailored to your particular needs as well as one that designs machinery that aligns with the market drivers and trends discussed in this article. JBT can offer a complete food and beverage solution for processors, starting from blending/mixing of the ingredients to the final packaging, to help our customers in the complete process. JBT also has research and technology centers around the world that can be use by our customers in the process of developing plant-based drinks or test new ingredients.Beautiful inspector wearing eyeglasses and white coat taking picture on modern smartphone while checking quality of soy milk at production department of dairy plant

“We can assist during the entirety of the critical production process,” says JBT’s Global Product Line Director for Aseptic Systems, Juan Martinez. “Our experts can help by providing an analysis of your production process and developing a strategic plan to increase efficiency and improve the use of your equipment. As a full-service partner, we will pull from our well of knowledge and experience to design the right innovative solution, ensuring reliability and performance across all areas of operations and food safety, including quality, environment, production.”

JBT Corporation’s Research and Technology Centers: A Valuable Resource for Plant-Based Milk Processors

JBT Corporation also has 15 research and technology centers around the world. These centers are dedicated to developing innovative solutions for food and beverage processors. One of the key benefits of JBT Corporation’s research and technology centers is their ability to help plant-based milk processors test new products. These centers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and expertise, allowing processors to conduct thorough testing of their products to ensure they meet industry standards and consumer expectations.

For example, JBT Corporation’s FoodTech Center in Amsterdam has a center for aseptic systems. This center is equipped with the latest technology and expertise, allowing plant-based milk processors to conduct a wide range of tests on their products on our equipment. Our Center includes equipment for Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing, blow molding and retail aseptic filling, which includes our SF&DS Sterideal® Coil and AsepTec® Filler.

Our Research and Technology Centers are an invaluable resource for alternative milk processors. These centers provide the technology, expertise, and insights needed to test new products, stay ahead of industry trends, and optimize production processes. By leveraging the resources of these centers, plant-based milk processors can create innovative, high-quality products that meet the demands of consumers and the industry.

 

Sources:

  1. Data Bridge Global Plant-Based Milk Market – Industry Trends and Forecast to 2029
  2. GlobalData’s 2022 Q2 global consumer survey
  3. GlobalData’s 2022 Q1 global consumer survey
  4. GlobalData’s Product Launch Analytics