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A quarter of Brits are now drinking plant-based milks

As consumers become increasingly aware of the ethical implications of the dairy industry, plant-based milks are growing in popularity.

A quarter of Brits are now drinking plant-based milks

With everything from almond to oat and coconut milks now available as vegan alternatives, Brits are branching out, with 23% of people using plant-based versions, up from 19% last year, according to research from marketing intelligence agency, Mintel.

Women and youth are clearly driving the demand, with 26% of females and 33% of people aged 16 to 24 opting for plant-based milks.

But while they may be growing in popularity, these alternatives still only account for a small fraction of white milk sales. What's more, only 25% of people who use non-dairy milks, use them in cooking or baking, though 65% say they do want to know more about how to use these alternatives for such purposes.

Mintel's research shows a clear trend: more consumers are concerned about the ethical and environmental implications of the dairy and milk industries. According to the research, 33% of consumers are interested in products that come in bottles or pots made partly or wholly of recycled plastics, while 27% would like to see products with a guarantee of sustainable farming.

“Plant-based milk alternatives continue to make further inroads into the mainstream, with high levels of innovation activity such as the entrance of Innocent Drinks to the market in 2018,” said Emma Clifford, associate director of UK Food and Drink. “Growth in this segment forms part of a much wider plant-based movement, driven by concerns around health, ethics and the environment, as well as by consumers’ love of variety in their diets.”

Emma continued, “Media coverage of the ethical and environmental issues around animal farming have helped raise consumer awareness of these factors. Ethical interest is of significant importance to the dairy drinks, milk and cream sector, particularly as in this market differentiation is challenging. Interest in ethical products – including those that use recycled plastics, plastic waste reduction, sustainable farming, and support animal welfare – offers opportunities to engage with consumers, create compelling points of difference and encourage people to spend a bit more money.”

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