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While the plant-based meat market tends to get all the attention, as more consumers begin shifting towards plant-based and flexitarian diets, we’re set to see the rise of vegan cheese and dairy. Already seeing a major boost in sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest data shows that we’re likely to see plant-based dairy products disrupt the industry even more in the coming years. Here are seven statistics showing how the vegan dairy and cheese is growing now, and where it’s going to be in the future.
1. Vegan cheese is already a US$2.7 billion market, but it’ll double to US$4.5 billion by 2025
Experts at Dublin-based Research and Markets believe that vegan cheese is going to grow at a strong 8.91% annually to reach a total global market size worth US$4.57 billion within the next four years. That’s a more than double increase from its estimated US$2.743 billion worth in 2019, an indication of the strong demand for dairy-free alternatives.
2. Health, ethical and sustainability are key drivers, but Covid-19 is supporting its “exponential rise”
While rising cases of lactose intolerance, ethical concerns about animal welfare and the environmental footprint of dairy were cited by the researchers as three key pillars driving the trend towards plant-based cheese alternatives, the report mentions the pandemic as a major boost for sales. “In the two quarters of 2020, retail sales of plant-based cheese in developed economies like the United States, and Canada witnessed an exponential rise,” the analysts explained.
3. This is going to be the most plant-based cheese-filled Christmas yet
Given the pandemic-driven boost, there’s going to be a major surge in people purchasing plant-based cheeses for their Christmas dinner tables this year. Speaking to Plant Based News, dairy giant Applewood said that it expects 74% of consumers to now be “looking” at vegan cheese alternatives. “The demand for our plant-based alternatives to our popular Applewood and Mexicana cheeses is an indication of how popular a vegan lifestyle is now as more and more people seek healthier options,” Lisa Harrison, senior brand manager for Applewood told PBN.
4. Vegan cheese is becoming an increasingly crowded market
As demand continues to grow, the Research and Markets report notes that more and more vegan cheese brands are now entering the space, vying to nab a share of the pie. Among some of the top brands that will be the strongest contenders includes Hope Foods, Good Planet Foods, Kite Hill, Miyoko’s Creamery, Tofutti, Daiya and Violife, but the experts believe that “investments by major players… [will] influence the whole value chain of the vegan cheese industry”.
5. The entire vegan dairy industry is exploding this year
In the latest alternative dairy report published by Singapore-based vegan review platform abillionveg, researchers described 2020 as an “explosive” year for plant-based dairy. Currently, plant-based milk and cheese alternatives remain the two most popular alternative products within the segment on their app, making up a total of 65% of reviews in the category. From December 2019 to November 2020, the entire vegan dairy category on the abillionveg platform saw a 6-fold surge.
6. There’s going to be a major uptick in interest in plant-based yoghurt
While milk and cheese remain the dominant products in the plant-based dairy market, abillionveg researchers believe that the next star of the show will be vegan yogurt. “Yoghurt has emerged as the fastest growing segment in recent months,” said the report. “Looking ahead, vegan yogurts are projected to grab more market share as more consumers become aware of their health benefits.” Compared to the 11% annual growth that the overall vegan dairy market will see from 2020 to 2027, the plant-based yoghurt market is expected to surge a whopping 19%.
7. Oats are going to taking over
Another major change that will shape the plant-based dairy industry is the dominant crop that will be used. According to the abillionveg report, oats will soon displace the most common ingredients – soy, coconut and almond – which currently account for 78% of dairy alternative reviews on their app. “Looking forward, oat tops our growth charts,” wrote the researchers, citing the 7-fold increase in consumer interest for oat-based products in the last year alone, with “little signs of slowing down”.
Lead image designed by Sally Ho for Green Queen Media.