During a trip to the local grocery store, did you ever stop and notice the vast array of plant-based products on the shelves?

The dairy industry has become inundated with many new alternatives. Choice upon choice, you will find soy, oat, cashew, rice, coconut, macadamia nut, almond, hemp, quinoa, and pea, as contenders in the market. Each of these is then turned into “milk-like” products, resulting in blocks/shreds of cheese, frozen novelties, or that of reduced form such as, yogurts, creamers, or spreads (butters, dips, sour cream, dressings, mayo, to name a few). It seems that soymilk, rice milk and almond milk are among the more popular plant-based beverages, according to an Allied Market Research report.

Plant-based alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to analysts “the plant-based milk market is expected to reach US$21.52 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 10.18%, for the duration spanning 2020-2024”

What is driving this growth? Healthy lifestyle is a key contender in the popularity of the plant-based dairy industry; this is the beverage of choice by fitness enthusiasts and customers who have health concerns: from weight management, to everyday issues such as lactose intolerance. This industry is rapidly becoming more of the new “norm,” to consumers and their families. Many dairy allergy-suffers can now treat themselves to their favorite ice cream. If pizza was out of the question, there are now cheese alternatives to compliment one’s favorite toppings. The ability to choose and enjoy your favorite foods may seem minute, but to an individual suffering from health issues, these are personal victories.

Taste and texture are becoming more complex. If you bite into a piping hot grilled “cheese” sandwich, you expect the full bodied “dairy taste”. If you pour a cool glass of a dairy alternative beverage, you are seeking a smooth, creamy texture to accompany that cookie that you are about to dunk. The bar on flavor and expectations is continuously on the rise, creating high standards for existing companies and newcomers entering the market.

Consumers’ preferences are also evolving. As health research expands, discerning customers are responding. Creativity with meals, and social media influence are also driving factors to the increasing popularity of the plant-based dairy industry, as is the increase in urbanization. Many are also taking it to the walls of their own personal kitchens: current health-based cookbooks are lined with pages on how to prepare many of these very products.

Who is the plant-based shopper? Although the masses are jumping on board, it generally boils down to four main groups, these are:

  • Vegans (consume no animal associated products).
  • Vegetarians (consume no animal meat products).
  • Flexitarians (eat a variety of foods, yet conscience of making more healthy decisions)
  • Omnivores (eat a variety of foods).

It will be interesting to see where this industry and the changes it is bringing about, will lead us.

No matter the market demands, or product requirements, Deville offers the flexibility of shredding analogue cheeses and soy-based products while maintaining a high cut-quality, reducing product loss and down-time issues.

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