Research
Interview Synopsis

EU plant-based dairy industry – Q3 2020 update

  • Multi Asset
  • Consumer
  • Europe

The increasing appetite for plant-based food resulted in 2019 being hailed as the year of the vegan, with myriad new products entering the market – and, among these, dairy alternatives saw significant uptake. To see if the momentum has carried on, a former SVP from Danone updated Third Bridge Forum on key developments and innovation.

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Europe’s plant-based alternatives: what’s shaking up the industry?

The specialist was first asked to map the European dairy alternative market. Its overall size more than doubled from 2012 to 2017, and it could expand twofold again by 2021. While this was originally dominated by non-dairy ambient milk, this now makes up around 60% of the category. The fresh segment – yogurt, cream and dessert alternatives – takes up the rest and is growing fast, “certainly… in the high double digits”.

Alpro, owned by Danone, is “a clear European leader” and was one of the first soy importers on the continent – meaning “they have built an incredible know-how about how to get the best out of a very interesting ingredient”. Supermarket private labels also take up a major portion, while the rest of the market is quite “scattered”. 

Looking into the demand drivers, the former SVP pointed out that “this is a lifestyle story”, with younger generations concerned about their health and the environment. Other important elements noted were straightforward labelling and responsibly sourced ingredients. In addition, for the “majority of people it’s not either/or”, with many consumers opting for flexitarian diets.

The importance of innovation for adding value to this category was highlighted, with the specialist mentioning high protein and low sugar or unsweetened products as directions the industry could take. Another eminent trend in the food business is “fragmentation”: “it’s important to have sub-segments which are very clearly addressing some specific needs.”

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge Forum’s EU Plant-based Dairy Industry – Q3 2020 Update Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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