Oat-based products may have the best chance of rivalling traditional dairy in the US market, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
While sales of dairy milk are in decline, plant-based alternatives are booming. At present, almond 'milk' is the top seller and many observers believe oat-based products are best placed to offer an option to dairy consumers that is closer to what they are used to.
Andy Coyne, Food Correspondent at GlobalData, says: “Oat-based products competing in the US dairy category across milk, cream, ready-to-drink and yogurt segments have had a great 12 months. Scandinavian company Oatly disrupted the category by targeting specialist coffee shops and baristas and then letting the brand build through word of mouth. They have been joined by numerous start-up companies and 'Big Food' players such as Danone and Chobani, ironically dairy businesses themselves.
“The opinion of many food industry analysts is oat milk tastes better than other plant-based dairy alternatives. It has a creamy consistency and it performs a lot like dairy milk in hot drinks. From an environmental perspective, oats tick boxes as a sustainable crop that doesn't need a lot of water and fights weeds without the need for a large amount of pesticide.
“As the plant-based dairy alternative category grows, oats are increasingly likely to be seen as the ingredient that shifts these products into the mainstream.”