28 June 2019 | News
While growth is still nascent, strong potential for brands exists to fulfill consumer desires for ‘healthy’ dairy alternatives
image credit- hhe.com
As Americans continue to look for ways to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets, the plant-based dairy alternative segment is expanding. Sales of plant-based dairy products, excluding milk, reached $697 million, for the 52 weeks, ending June 2018, according to Nielsen data – an increase of 50 percent year over year. Nondairy ice cream and frozen desserts, yogurt, cheese, creamer, butter and dressing sales are included in these figures. All the nondairy product categories cited here experienced double-digit growth greater than 20 percent during the same period.
“The top driver for consumers of plant-based dairy products is health,” said Greg Paul, Ph.D., MBA, Marketing Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences. “Consumers believe plant-based is healthier for them, yet what they consider healthy varies widely and is often personal. Healthy may be defined simply as dairy avoidance because of an allergy or intolerance or it may mean sustainable, lower in fat or better for one’s overall well-being.”
While health benefits may be what’s bringing mainstream consumers to the plant-based dairy sector, meeting expectations for taste, texture and overall eating enjoyment is what will keep them there. Analysis of more than 3 million online conversations over a three-year period by MotiveQuest found that taste and flavor are consistently consumers’ most important criteria in nondairy substitutes. Protein content, texture, sugar level and calories are other common discussion topics.
“Consumers are often disappointed in the labels on dairy alternative products because their expectations aren’t met,” Paul said. “The labels are not jibing with what consumers expect with dairy-free products – which is natural and simple with high protein, low sugar and clean labels. There is significant opportunity in the market for brands to deliver dairy-free products with better nutritional profiles and cleaner labels.”
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is a leader in plant-based product development, with decades of experience and category research. Together with an expansive portfolio of protein ingredients, complementary systems for texture/stabilization, cultures, probiotics and food protection solutions, DuPont experts can help plant-based dairy brands deliver on consumer healthfulness expectations with exceptional taste and texture.