U.S. Plant-based Milks - Statistics & Facts

Published by Jan Conway, Mar 19, 2018
Plant-based milks, widely known as substitutes for dairy milk, are traditionally consumed by vegans and people with particular dietary restrictions. Almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and soy milk are the most popular types. Non-dairy milk can also be made with hemp seeds, peanuts, cashew and other nuts, as well as grains, such as barley and oats.

In 2017, plant-based food was considered as a major trend in the United States and had the potential to capture the mainstream market. For instance, barely a fifth of U.S. households had purchased or consumed plant-based beverages in 2010. However, the U.S. household penetration rate of plant-based beverages had increased to 33 percent in 2016. Moreover, milk was the most popular plant-based product category, and had generated approximately 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in sales.

Curiosity about plant-based milks and their benefits has been growing, possibly leading to even more mainstream acceptance in the years to come. A 2016 Google survey found that the search query “Is almond milk healthy” had increased in frequency by almost 400 percent since the previous year. In the next year, coconut milk and almond milk were amongst some of the fastest growing private label beverage categories in the United States, based on dollar sales . Furthermore, U.S. retail sales of almond milk were projected to exceed 1.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Soy milk, coconut milk, and rice milk appeared to be less popular in comparison. However, among the three, coconut milk and rice milk are projected to show significant sales growth by 2020, while soy milk seems to be dropping off in popularity.

In 2016, WhiteWave Foods Co. was the leading manufacturer of almond milk in the United States. The company's Silk brand is the leading ready-to-drink almond milk brand, and also carries a broad line of natural, flavored and blended soy, cashew and coconut milks. As of July 2016, French food and beverage giant Danone announced plans to buy WhiteWave to boost its U.S. portfolio.

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Plant-based milks

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Important key figures

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Almond milk

Soy milk

Coconut milk

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