Almost a quarter of Britons are consuming plant-based milk alternatives as the popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets continues to grow.
While demand for traditional cow’s milk is falling, sales of alt-milk, made from oats, almonds and coconuts have surged 10% over the past two years, according to a report.
The report, from Mintel, said 23% of those polled had used plant milk in the three months leading to February this year, up from just 19% in 2018. The shift was particularly marked among women and the under 25s.
Emma Clifford, associate director of UK food and drink at Mintel, said plant-based milk was entering the mainstream as alternative products became more readily available on supermarket shelves. “This is part of a much wider plant-based movement, driven by concerns around health, ethics and the environment.”
Although cow’s milk is still a far bigger market, worth more than £3bn, Britons buy fewer pints than their parents. What was once touted as a one-stop source of health is slipping out of fashion; the average person’s milk consumption in the UK has fallen 50% since the 1950s.
In a significant shift in the UK, the number of vegans – those shunning all animal products including dairy and eggs – has risen. According to the Vegan Society, there were 600,000 vegans in Britain in 2018, up from 150,000 in 2014.