In the land of milk and honey oats
In today’s busy beverage industry, consumers are looking for convenience, nutrition, taste and, increasingly, a clear conscience. Milk drinks and a plethora of alternatives to “milk” have become a hotly contested category. The update Canada’s Food Guide, and a July 2019 Statistics Canada study, encourages Canadians to drink water regularly, consume more vegetables and fruit than juice, and consume up to half a liter of milk in one or two percent per day or soy milk (the only milk substitute mentioned). The guide also limits fruit drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, sports / energy drinks, and sugary drinks.
Milk and milk substitutes face many niche markets where consumers make choices. Factors such as nutrient density, gut health, reduced toxicity (from pesticides), animal welfare (compared to cow’s milk), environmental impact and digestibility serve different demographics. The purchasing power of a new generation is pushing beverage companies to advance food science and product attributes to meet higher expectations. A January 2017 study by Deloitte, titled Global dairy trends and opportunities highlights macroeconomic trends such as urbanization, rising incomes and the move towards greater protein consumption. Consumers are looking for ‘clean labels’, so that products ‘go green’, are ‘natural’ or ‘free’, and 55% of respondents are willing to pay 10% more for this, while 23% will pay 10%. % to 20 percent more.
A recent piece of FoodBev Media in March 2020 adds that 35% of UK adults skip a meal in favor of a snack, and global dairy snacks are expected to grow. However, younger consumers are drawn to dairy alternatives, so brands will need to rethink flavors, functional nutrient profiles, and include plant-based and lactose-free options. In March 2019, McKinsey & Co contributed to the debate on the milk / milk alternative by examining potential areas for growth. According to their study, a new generation of digitally savvy consumers are avoiding “big foods”, and up to 82% “need to know” or “would like to know more” about product ingredients, while 70% want to know more. information procurement practices. Consumers are tired of clunky ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, GMOs, or high levels of sweeteners or sodium. McKinsey added that tailoring value propositions to niche consumer segments is a challenge due to omnichannel proliferation and media fragmentation.
Dairy drinks – strengths and opportunities
Amid the significant increase in milk substitutes, cow’s milk has some strong elements going for it. It is a complete and nutritionally dense food known for its benefits on muscle mass, bone density and satiety. The dairy components of milk, such as casein and whey protein, serve well-established markets. It also meets the growing demand for digestive health with fermented drinks and can be marketed as a local product, especially when it comes from largely grass-fed sources, such as organic Canadian milk.
Specific to gut health, March 2020 FoodBev Media The report noted specific opportunities for kefir, a fermented dairy product, which is packed with strong health attributes, supports digestion, and has a lower lactose profile. In the Functional Food Journal, Garcia-Burgos and a team of Spanish researchers highlighted in 2020 the special characteristics of fermented dairy products as a functional food with antioxidant properties and not needing to be fortified like milk substitutes.
Non-dairy dairy alternatives – strengths and opportunities
In its Plant Milk 2019 report, ProVeg, an herbal rights advocacy group, claims that 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant and that a growing generation of people are turning to herbal drinks like personal preference. In 2018, sales of plant-based milk increased 9% in the United States, while sales of traditional cow’s milk fell 6%. In addition, vegetable milks accounted for 15 percent of total milk sales. Research and Markets, a data agency, predicts that non-dairy milk will hit $ 38 billion in sales by 2024.
A trend towards milk substitutes is clearly evident. In 2016, dairy giant Danone bought out Alpro, a dairy alternative company, and Finnish dairy producer Valio launched a plant-based range of non-dairy milks and yogurts. More than 50 percent of American and European consumers, 69 percent in Asia-Pacific, and 71 percent in Latin America drink plant-based milks. In the United States, almond milk accounts for 64 percent of the market, soy milk 13 percent, and coconut milk 12 percent. In Sweden, oat milk occupies 66 percent of vegetable milks.
In a January 2020 article in the Guardian, Annette McGivney wrote: “All alternatives to milk are better for the planet than dairy products. She cited a study from the University of Oxford in 2018 which found that producing a glass of cow’s milk results in three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a plant-based alternative. While the scientific merit of this study is debated, the environmental footprint of industrialized milk production has been scrutinized for decades. McGivney’s article also sheds light on the impact of milk substitutes. For example, coconuts grown for a growing global market have “led to deforestation and put pressure on tropical forests.” Closer to Canada, the California almond industry claims it takes 130 quarts of water to produce a single glass of almond milk. In addition, 70% of commercial bees pollinate almond trees, which in 2019 resulted in the death of more than a third of bee colonies in the region.
Innovation in beverage processing
Advances in food science and rapid consumer responsiveness to animal and plant-based milks lead to a positive future. For example, lactose-free, grass-fed and certified organic animal welfare milk is now available. According to research agency Reports and Data, the global probiotics market in 2020 was US $ 14.7 billion, and it is meeting the demand for ready-to-drink functional drinks to combat gut health disorders. Probiotics are well established with brands such as Yakult, Danone, Nestlé, Lifeway, Nextfoods, Fonterra, Chobani and Bio-K.
Although dairy milks will continue to innovate and evolve, researchers such as Erica Pontonio and Carlo Rizzello claim that there is “an increasing prevalence of allergenicity to cow’s milk, lactose intolerance and ‘hypercholesterolemia’ in a 2021 article for the academic journal. food. These statements and growing consumer awareness are at the forefront of advancements in food science, emulsification, fortification and profitable operations. Beverage brands in dairy products and herbal alternatives need to remain aware of the possibilities.