The rise of veganism in the United States is a trend that continues to blossom. In fact, 6% of Americans now identify as vegan compared to just 1% in 2014. As this consumer group expands, new brands are emerging with innovative meat and dairy alternatives. These options are appealing to more than just vegans, and the rise in demand for milk alternatives certainly proves this point.
Vegan Milk Demand Grows 29% in the Past Year
Four of the top vegan milks have grown online searches by 29% in the past year. Meanwhile, searches for “milk” has actually declined by 4%. Almond, coconut, soy and oat milk are all commonly used alternatives, but which is the favorite?
Within the US, “almond milk” is the most popular with 1.5x more searches than coconut or oat milk. Almond’s lead may be a result of seniority – almond and soy milk are commonly used milk substitutes and have been for decades. Newer alternatives, such as “coconut milk” and oat milk, have seen strong growth over the past 12 weeks compared to last year. “Oat milk” has experienced a much sharper rise in searches, growing by +80% in share of“milk” searches in the past six months alone.
The demand for oat milk has been so intense that in Q4, America actually experienced an oat milk shortage. Much of this craze comes from consumers’ love for Oatly, a Swedish brand that entered the US market in 2016.
How Does Oatly Compare to Other Vegan Brands?
Oatly is emerging as a household brand with a +41% uptick in searches year on year. But how does Oatly’s success compare to vegan brands that compete in other categories?
Daiya, a veteran brand that focuses on vegan cheese, has modest growth at +10% year on year. Meanwhile, Just Mayo, a vegan mayonnaise brand, and Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based burgers that makes one do a double take, are exploding with growth. Growth in online searches for both brands is three times greater than in the prior year.
Whether the customers are vegan or not, supplying popular meat and dairy alternative brands can help retailers resonate with today’s consumers. For more insights on vegan brand performance in key consumer categories, check out our recent CPG report.