‘Many consumers are foregoing their usual morning coffee runs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ explains Stephanie Budynski, coordinating researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
‘As a result, consumers who are working from home have increased their at-home consumption of both dairy milk and milk alternative products. Recent market research showed the food and beverage product with the greatest sales increase during the pandemic was oat milk.’
Data indicates oat milk experienced a 212% increase in sales in the 31-week period ending October 3, 2020. On the other hand, dairy milk only experienced a sales increase of 9% over the same period.
‘Three major drivers exist in the dairy milk alternative industry that have led to an increase in consumption. These drivers include product availability, diversification of products and the communication of product attributes.’
Consumers may choose to consume dairy milk alternatives for a variety of reasons, including perceived health benefits, desire to try a new product or for allergies or intolerances to lactose, adds Budynski. Consumers may also choose not to consume dairy milk alternatives for various reasons, including product taste, cost or value considerations and to support dairy farmers and agriculture.
‘Nutritional profiles differ across dairy milk and milk alternative products. Understanding these profiles, including calories, protein, sugar and fat, will help consumers choose the product that is right for them,’ explains Budnyski.
She adds the market for dairy milk alternatives has been growing and this may provide a unique opportunity for some entrepreneurs.
Read Consumer Corner’s Demand for dairy milk and milk alternatives
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