From zero-sugar to ‘animal free’ – where is the biggest opportunity?

“Households that have both dairy and plant-based products in their fridge are actually growing faster than either Diary or plant-based households, and that growth is actually additive or incremental to other households,”Takoua Debeche, chief research & innovation officer at Danone North America, told attendees this week at FoodNavigator-USA’s webinar Dairy Trends: From zero-sugar to ‘animal free,’ which is available on demand.

“The way we look at it, we really don’t see dairy and plant-based competing with each other,”Or as a plant-based taking share from dairy, but rather as an opportunity to serve consumers where they are – whether that is by developing plant-based or dairy products, she explained.

And the opportunity for each is real, she added, noting “both dairy and plant-based are growing in different places. ”

‘Big opportunities for plant-based’

For example, Debeche said, she’s inside “Big opportunities for plant-based”Dairy categories, which have been growing double digit over the past few years, in fluid milk, cheese, and thick Greek-style yogurt.

Pointing to household penetration, she noted, dairy milk is currently in about 90% of US homes, but plant-based milk is only in about 43% of homes.

“This means that we have about a 50% gap to grow plant-based categories in that regard,”She said.

The same is true for plant-based cheese, she said, noting that cheese is the largest dairy category in the US worth around $ 20bn, but the plant-based cheese segment represents only 1%.

“So, we see a huge opportunity to continue to grow plant-based cheese as we improve the taste and texture, which are obviously critical for consumers to adopt those plant-based diets,”She said, citing data that estimates half of consumers want to buy more plant-based options but taste and texture are holding them back.


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