Oat Milk – A Healthy and Sustainable Dairy Milk Alternative

 The global oat milk market was valued at US$0.476 billion in 2020 and will increase to US$1.432 billion by 2027. Over the forecast period, this market is estimated to grow at a compound yearly growth rate of 17.04%.

Cow milk has been a staple and integral part of the diet of many across the world. As a nutrient-dense food with proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, cow's milk is consumed as coffee, tea, or cereals. While it's favored by many, it's not without cons. It isn't well-received by others owing to high amounts of saturated fats, allergies, lactose intolerances, and personal preferences, among many others.

According to the estimates mentioned by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 68 percent of the global population is estimated to be suffering from lactose malabsorption. Thus, among such people, plant-based milk has gained traction. Oats milk is one among them. Oat milk is a simple blend of oats, water, and other ingredients such as salt, oils, and gum to develop an appealing taste and texture, mimicking that of natural milk. Like cow milk, this naturally sweet and mild-flavored plant-based milk can be used in cooking. However, unlike dairy milk, oat milk has about half fewer quantities of fats in them, making it an optimal choice for consumers regulating diet. Furthermore, they are high in beta-glucan and fibers and are also said to lower the levels of LDL cholesterols in the body.

oat milk market

Nevertheless, the benefits of oat milk don't stop just at that. According to David Peter, Oatly's former U.K. head, shifting from cow's milk to oat milk can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 73 percent. Furthermore, oats are a sustainable crop, don't need lots of water for cultivation, and don't lead to deforestation. Consequently, the consumption of oat milk is rapidly increasing as of late, both in residential houses and coffee houses. With the increasing demand for healthy milk alternatives, major key players are actively developing and coming up with new offerings to suit consumers' tastes. The launch of the newest oat milk by Ripple Foods is the best example of this.

Furthermore, the effective strategies deployed by the brands further drive the market. In May 2022, Ripple Foods, the leading plant-based dairy brand, added Oatmilk + protein to its plant-based product line. The delicious, healthy, and creamy oat milk has 6 grams of plant-based protein per serving, three times more than most normal oats milk, 50 percent more calcium, and 50% less sugar than dairy milk. With this initiative, Ripple is changing the game, allowing individuals who enjoy oat milk to enjoy it even more, as Ripple's version contains three times the protein of traditional oat milk while maintaining the same fantastic taste and creamy texture. Such attributes propel the demand for oat milk in the market during the forecasted period.

The growing demand for oat milk-based beverages in the popular coffee retail chains is fuelling the demand for plain oat milk.

Non-dairy milk has become widely available and is gaining traction as a dairy milk alternative. Furthermore, plant milk is denser in nutrients than dairy milk. Consequently, more and more consumers are shifting toward plant-based milk. To meet these changing demands, major coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunkin, and Peet's Coffee are actively expanding their product portfolios with the launch of oat milk-based products, joining the oats milk revolution back in 2020. Later in March 2021, Starbucks and Oraph-based milk brand Oatly entered into a strategic partnership. Oatly oat milk will be accessible year-round as part of Starbucks' main U.S. menu due to the relationship. The company's beverages, including Honey Oatmilk Latte and recently launched Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, are a perfect fit for the velvety, plant-based milk. Starbucks' decision to add Oatly to its U.S. menu is the latest move in the firm's efforts to become a resource-positive corporation and reduce its carbon footprint by half.

Similarly, in August 2021, Dunkin began rolling out coffees made from oat milk from Planet Oat, a plant-based beverage brand across the U.S. The popular coffee-and-donut chain launched a new gluten-free and vegan-friendly Iced Oat milk Latte and other beverages. Taking this revolution a step forward, in March 2022, California- based coffee brand chain Peet's Coffee launched its Spring offerings with a dedicated dairy-free and vegan portfolio with oat-milk-based coffee and espresso beverages. Furthermore, on the eve of Earth's Day in April 2022, Stumptown teamed with Oatly to launch an Earth Day Latte. These successive developments reflect the changing trends and increasing consumption of vegan-based drinks in the coffee chains.

The availability of multiple other types of non-dairy milk is expected to restrain the market.

Though oat milk could be considered a healthier alternative to cow milk, it is not the only plant-based milk. With the tremendous growth in the alternative dairy industry in the past few years, consumers now have multiple options to navigate through. Soy milk, for instance, is the best nutrition vegan milk. According to research conducted by a group from the McGill University, soy milk is the vegan milk that is packed densely packed with nutrients after cow milk. In addition to the balanced nutritional profile, soy milk is also known for its anti-carcinogenic properties owing to the presence of isoflavones, a phytonutrient.

Similarly, other non-dairy alternatives are almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, cashew milk, macadamia milk, hemp milk, and quinoa milk, among many others. Quinoa milk has a distinctive flavor that is sweet and nutty. Compared to other non-dairy milk, it has a moderate number of calories, protein, and carbohydrates. It contains high-quality protein, making it a wonderful choice for vegetarians and vegans. While almond milk is minimal in calories, fat, and carbs and has a mild, sweet, nutty flavor. It has less than half the fat and less than a fourth of the calories of cow milk. It also has a reduced protein and carbohydrate content. It's one of the lowest-calorie non-dairy milk on the market, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to reduce their calorie intake. Before the entry of oats milk, almond milk was estimated to occupy a significant share of the non-dairy milk market. As per the statistics derived from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people with lactose intolerance consider soy milk an alternative to dairy milk.

Covid-19 Insights

COVID-19 had a positive impact on the global oats milk market. With the increase in the active cases amidst the pandemic, the oat milk market witnessed an upward trend as more and more consumers began shifting towards a healthier diet. Though the mandated lockdown and birder restrictions across the globe affected the supply and demand chain, the efficient steps taken by multiple governments to meet the increasing demand for essential products decreased the impact on the oat milk market. Furthermore, the growth of the e-commerce segment amid the pandemic further caused the market to grow during the pandemic. 


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