Growing ethical, environmental and health concerns have seen an increase in the demand for dairy-free milk alternatives in Australia.

Consumers are broadening their horizons with plant-based milk varieties and in recent years, almond milk has overtaken soy as the most requested dairy alternative, and that growth is expected to continue.

According to IRI data, almond milk has a 22 per cent penetration of total milk, and is up 1.5 per cent versus this time a year ago. While overall, the non-dairy segment has a 38 per cent penetration and is up 3.1 per cent versus this time last year.

Justin Nel, Lead Consultant at IRI, told C&I that non-dairy shoppers are a very valuable group as they spend on average 26 per cent more than the average shopper.

Plant-based milks then represent a clear opportunity for convenience stores, particularly when these products have higher margins than cow’s milk and have significantly longer shelf life making them far easier to manage.

While soy and almond milk have been the key drivers of growth in the dairy-free space, oat milk has been flagged as the one to watch over the coming years.

Oat milk is one of the most sustainable milks on the market that’s better for you, animals and the planet. Last year sales increased by 686 per cent in the US alone, and Australians are also fast making oat milk their dairy free milk of choice.

Convenience retailer OTR has recognised this trend and will now be offering Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend at no extra charge to customers across its more than 155 locations in South Australia.

Natalie Dalbo, OTR’s Head of Food and Beverage, says that OTR is committed to providing its C Coffee customers with the highest quality experiences.

We have offered a choice of non-dairy milk alternatives at no extra charge to all our guests for the last 20 years, including soy, almond and lactose-free milk,” she says.

“We are excited to extend OTR’s milk range to include Califia Farms Oat Barista milk to meet the needs of our guests seeking the delicious taste of oat milk with their locally roasted C Coffee at OTR.”

To read our full category feature on dairy-free milk see the December/January issue of C&I Retailing Magazine.

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