Dairy alternatives are being widely used in several applications due to their health benefits. The demand for these products is growing due to changing lifestyles, increased health awareness, and an increase in incidences of lactose sensitivity.
According to a recent study by Extrapolate, the global dairy alternatives market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2% to attain a valuation of USD 56.2 billion by 2028. Rising milk allergies and lactose intolerance incidences are predicted to drive the demand for dairy substitutes. As a result, dairy substitutes are increasingly being employed in a variety of food & beverage items to appeal to the growing number of consumers who choose plant-based and other dairy alternatives.
Are Dairy Alternatives Safe?
Dairy alternatives are plant-based products that serve as substitutes for traditional dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. They provide options for individuals who are lactose intolerant, have milk allergies, follow a vegan diet, or simply want to explore different dietary choices.
These dairy substitutes, such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, rice milk, and cashew milk, provide various nutritional profiles, including protein, vitamins, and minerals, although some may not contain the same amount of nutrients found in dairy products. As with any dietary change, it is important to assess individual nutritional needs and choose alternatives that meet those requirements. Always check product labels for additional additives or fortifications.
What Are the Health Benefits of Dairy Alternatives?
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of protein and a good supply of calcium. Many other dairy-free alternatives like plant-based foods provide these nutrients, but anyone making the switch should ensure that they are reaching their daily requirements. Going dairy-free may also have certain health benefits, such as:
- Avoiding Lactose Intolerance Risk
When people quit eating dairy, their bodies automatically cease making lactase, the enzyme required to break down the lactose sugar in milk.
According to the U.S. National Laboratory of Medicine, more than 75 percent of the world's population is lactose intolerant. Bloating, stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and stomach rumbling are some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Some people have an allergy to cow's milk, which can cause a possibly fatal allergic reaction. In such cases, the person should avoid all dairy products.
- Obviate Steroids and Hormones
Some people forgo dairy products to prevent impurities in milk, such as steroids or hormones.
- Reducing Cancer Risk
Researchers advocate for additional research on the subject. According to a review, vegans who do not consume any animal products, including dairy, have a considerably lower risk of cancer. This is not always due to a lack of dairy in their diet, as vegans also eschew meat and eggs.
- Addressing Environmental Concerns
Meat and dairy products account for nearly 15% of total global greenhouse emissions. Reducing the amount of dairy products we consume can be crucial to curbing climate breakdown.
Top 5 Dairy Alternatives Companies Leading the Industry in Innovation and Taste
Top leading companies in dairy alternatives include:
1. Kerry Inc.
Kerry Inc., based in Ireland, is a prominent nutrition and taste firm that provides new solutions to the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industries.
The company has more than 1800 diverse products in its portfolio, which includes Radicle, a remarkable portfolio of plant-based solutions and ingredients that can assist you in creating and delivering sustainable products enriched with nutrition, authentic taste, and appealing texture.
2. Nestlé SA
Nestle SA, headquartered in Switzerland, is one of the world's biggest food & beverage firms. It is present in 186 countries and aspires to improve people's quality of life through its goods.
Nestle SA launched Wunda, a versatile pea-based beverage that offers protein and fiber without the added taste of milk. Nestlé's Chief Technology Officer, Stefan Palzer, believes Wunda is an ideal plant-based alternative to milk due to its neutral texture, versatility, and carbon-neutral nature. The beverage is available in France, the Netherlands, and Portugal, with plans for other European markets. The Wunda series includes non-sugar and chocolate versions.
3. Doehler Group SE
Doehler Group of Germany is a leading provider of technologically innovative and natural nutrition and food & beverage products and services. Its goods are made from natural components, and it aspires to use science to revolutionize health and nutrition. The company's product portfolio includes a diverse range of dairy alternatives, from plant-based drinks to desserts.
Health reasons, cultural aspects, sustainability, and personal conviction drive consumers to eliminate milk from their diets, necessitating innovative, sustainable, and taste-focused products from Döhler's plant-based ingredients for worldwide supply.
4. Danone SA
Danone SA is a France-based company specializing in plant-based products, medical nutrition, essential dairy, water, and early-life nutrition businesses.
Danone acquired WhiteWave to offer plant-based food and sustainable choices, meeting consumer expectations for healthier, sustainable choices. This expansion complements dairy-fermented products and continues innovation through local and international brands.
The company aims to improve people's lives with its healthy and nutritious products.
5. Oatly AB
Oatly AB, established in Sweden, is one of the world's largest oat milk firms, focusing solely on oats. The company's product offering includes chilled oat drinks, cooking ingredients, ice cream, oat drinks, and yogurt. All of these items are available in a variety of flavors.
By 2024, the firm intends to construct nine more manufacturing facilities. It has a global footprint in over 20 countries and uses oats to enhance sustainability and human health.
In a Nutshell
Dairy alternatives have emerged as a versatile and in-demand option for those seeking a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional dairy products. With an array of plant-based milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream options available, individuals can now enjoy dairy-free alternatives that not only cater to their dietary needs but also satisfy their taste buds.
Whether for health reasons, ethical considerations, or environmental concerns, dairy alternatives offer a myriad of benefits. From providing essential nutrients to promoting sustainability, these alternatives have revolutionized how we consume and enjoy dairy.