Plant-Based Beverages and Dairy Alternatives

Making healthier, more sustainable plant-based beverage and dairy alternatives 

Although most of the media attention around plant-based diets is focused on meat alternatives, dairy alternatives and plant-based beverages aren’t to be underestimated. For over ten years, the sector has grown steadily, fueled mostly by consumers with lactose intolerance or malabsorption.

But if this movement started off as a ripple, it’s now becoming a tidal wave.

And that’s all thanks to the meteoric rise of the plant-based health trend. All over the world, millions of people are choosing to replace animal-based products with plant-based ones for meals, snacks, drinks and treats.

This presents a massive opportunity for companies to ride this wave and become leaders of a multi-billion-dollar industry. But the tactics that have brought success in the past won’t necessarily bring success now. Let’s look at why, and what to do about it.

The Key Challenges in Plant-Based Beverages and Dairy Alternatives

Getting the Taste and Texture Right

As the market has grown, it’s found itself catering to a new type of consumer. They have the option of consuming dairy, so delicious taste and texture are non-negotiable. But interestingly, that doesn’t mean replicating the taste and texture of dairy.

Our research shows they are looking for indulgence and are happy for plant-based to taste like plants. This opens to innovation opportunities on taste and texture.

Getting taste and texture right depends not only on knowing the ingredient, its quality (and qualities) and how to best use it, but also deeply understanding consumer preferences.

Ensuring a Healthy Nutritional Profile

Up until now, a dairy alternative succeeded by virtue of not being dairy. Now, because it’s competing for consumers who can drink dairy, it needs a nutritional profile that can match up. There’s increased scrutiny, and alternatives often fall short.

Overcoming this barrier to long term success requires an understanding of the nutritional makeup of different protein sources, as well as other active ingredients like fibers and probiotics.


Differentiating in an Increasingly Crowded Market

As you’d expect for a growth market, there are lots of new players entering the ring. That means there are lots of products for consumers to choose from, and it’s more difficult than ever to stand out.

In order to differentiate, companies need insight into what consumers want. So, you are making better products, not just different ones.

Dive into a plant-based dairy alternative market overview across the UK, France and Germany to understand the growth drivers and differences across Europe’s biggest markets.

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What’s Next for Plant-Based Beverages and Dairy Alternatives?

Digestive Wellness

Consumers are increasingly including products in their diet that are specifically formulated to support gut wellness. Plant-based beverages and dairy alternatives are perfectly placed to lead the prebiotic and probiotic movement.


The collective global mindset is shifting towards one of environmental responsibility, and sustainability in food and drink will play a huge part in that. This plays to the strengths of plant-based beverage and dairy alternatives.

But as the market develops, plant-based food and drinks will be under scrutiny too. This means being plant-based alone isn’t going to be enough; a focus on sustainability is a must.


Variety as Next Growth Driver

Today’s consumers are looking for variety in the options provided by plant-based beverages and dairy alternatives. And because they’re no longer judging plant-based products by their mimicry of dairy, this opens up all sorts of possibilities in terms of taste and texture.

It means now is the perfect time to start exploring what plant-based has to offer to consumers.

Now, we’re still at the stage where you primarily see a single hero ingredient in a plant-based alternative. As time moves on and these products get more sophisticated, hybrid options could become prevalent as a way to create variety, promote health, sustainability and taste all at the same time.

Get insights on consumers drivers from more than 1.6 million unprompted, anonymous conversations on forums, blogs, message boards, review sites, public Facebook pages, and YouTube comments.

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With Danisco PlanitTM , we can help you win in the Plant-Based Beverages and Dairy Alternatives Segment

To answer to the strong trend and demand for plant-based food, we have created Danisco PlanitTM, our integrated offering of ingredients and services for the plant-based food and beverage segment, providing you with innovative plant-based solutions that keep you ahead of consumer demand.

We have the most comprehensive product portfolio to help you formulate the optimal plant-based beverage and dairy alternative, including starter cultures, probiotics, protective cultures, stabilizers, proteins and enzymes.

Together with industry-leading taste and texture labs and many years of practical experience with ingredient interaction, we’re perfectly positioned to help you create a product that your customers will come back to again and again.

Predict how much consumers will love your new plant-based beverage:
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