Reading Time: 2 minutes Non-dairy milks are skyrocketing in popularity (Photo: Instagram/Oatly)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Swedish brand Oatly, which makes a range of vegan dairy alternatives from oats, has seen its UK turnover grow by a staggering 90 percent in one year.

The company’s UK turnover in 2018 was £18 million – 89 percent growth from 2017. It is projected to turnover £30 million for 2019. Its global turnover for 2017 was £87 million, which is projected to double this year.

‘Global shift’

Ishen Paran, Oatly General Manager UK, told Plant Based News that there’s been a ‘global shift in the way that consumers make purchasing decisions’, with people thinking more consciously about how the products they purchase affect the environment.

“In a strive towards better sustainability, we’ve seen the introduction of the plastic bag charge, the phasing out of plastic straws and, for us, the growing popularity of oat-based products. Last year we found that younger consumers (in Britain), are choosing to spend more during their grocery shopping on more sustainable options,” he added.

“The more conscious shopping, coupled with the huge rise in consumers moving towards a more plant-based, flexitarian or vegan diet, has set the scene for us to grow at such a rate. Plus, our oat drinks don’t compromise on flavor or performance and work brilliantly in tea and coffee, which helps make the swap even easier!”

Different options

Data released last week by market research company Mintel shows growing interest in plant-based milk alternatives in Britain, with 23 percent of people polled using plant-based milk alternatives in the three months to February 2019.

This statistic shows that the consumption of plant milk spreads far beyond the one-two percent of Brits who identify as vegan.

Concerns around ethics, health, and the environment, all part of the ‘much wider plant-based movement’ were cited by Mintel as reasons plant-based milk is becoming mainstream.

Cow’s milk

While cow’s milk still made up the bulk of milk sales in 2018 (96 percent), its use is falling – especially among 16-24-year-olds – whose usage declined from 79 percent in 2018 to 73 percent in 2019.

This age group cited health reasons for their conscious decision in reducing their dairy intake (37 percent), and environmental concerns (36 percent agree dairy farming has a negative impact on the environment).The product is most popular among older consumers, with its use peaking at 92 percent among over-45s.

‘Beyond just vegans

Oatly’s Ishen Paran agrees that the appeal of plant-based dairy alternatives goes beyond the vegan community. “When we launched our chilled milks range last year, over 50 percent of customers who purchased them were new to the category, reflecting the broad appeal of the brand beyond just vegans,” he told PBN.

“Increasingly, people are choosing plant-based milk alternatives, like Oatly. The recent IPCC report stated that we need to see a 45 percent decline in global CO2 emissions by 2030. 

“It’s evident that environmentally conscious youngsters are driving a change in consumer buying behavior. Whilst it has been noted that the cost of sustainable products can be more, the cost on our planet is greater. It’s great to see younger generations educating us all in living a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.