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Moo-ving Forward: The Future of Dairy Lies in Plants

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Blog Contributors: Brittany Pelka, Upasana Hariram, William Melnyczenko

Plant-based alternative dairy products have taken the world by storm in recent years. In response to the growing demand for non-dairy products, the foremost dairy corporations and food majors with a significant presence in dairy are diversifying their product portfolios to include dairy alternatives. This shift in strategy echoes the trend seen in the meat industry, where similar efforts are being made to offer meat alternatives. Now, let's explore the latest trends surrounding one of consumers' favorite plant-based alternatives, milk.

Plant-Based Milk: Growth, 2022 Stats, and Demographic Trends[1]

Metric 2019-2022 Growth/Change 2022 Stats and Trends
Unit Sales Plant-based milk: +19% Dollar share: 15% (steady)
Animal-based milk: -4% Pricing per unit reflects the general trend
Dollar Sales in Natural Channel Plant-based milk: 42% of all milk sold  
Demographic Trends Consistent: Households with young children and those with higher incomes  

As a result, leading dairy companies are increasingly exploring the market potential of plant-based dairy alternatives and investing resources towards developing innovative and sustainable products that cater to the changing dietary preferences of consumers. As more people embrace the benefits of plant-based living, the demand for dairy alternatives has surged. Whether your consumers are lactose intolerant, vegan, or allergic to dairy, many plant-based products provide more sustainable and inclusive choices, catering to various dietary needs and preferences[2].

But what makes these products even more appealing is the precision and quality assurance of analytical services, such as Mérieux NutriSciences. In this blog, we'll explore the burgeoning world of plant-based dairies and how our analytical services and food safety software can ensure the safety and quality of these innovative products.

The Rise of Plant-Based Dairies

Plant-based dairies, including alternatives to milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, have gained immense popularity for several reasons:
  • Health Benefits: Plant-based diets tend to lower saturated fatty acids and animal-derived dietary protein intake while increasing non-digestible carbohydrates and phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables. This can help reduce intestinal inflammation and disease activity by producing immunoregulatory postbiotics, down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increased microbial diversity[3].

  • Ethical and Environmental Considerations: Many consumers are switching to plant-based options due to concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of traditional dairy farming. The greenhouse gas emissions are three times more in dairy production than in alternative plant-based output[4]. Hence, the plant-based diet is more sustainable than the average American dairy-based diet. Individuals can significantly reduce their ecological footprint by consuming this diet. This dietary choice is a viable solution for addressing the rising concerns regarding environmental sustainability[5].

  • Allergy-Friendly: Plant-based dairies are free from common allergens like milk proteins, making them an excellent option for those with food allergies.

  • Variety: Plant-based alternatives offer various flavors, textures, and source ingredients, catering to diverse tastes and dietary preferences.

The Role of Analytical Services, Food Safety Software, and Consulting Services in Ensuring Quality

The safety and quality of plant-based dairy products are of utmost importance to manufacturers, businesses, and the end consumers they serve. This is where the services provided by Mérieux NutriSciences become invaluable.

ROUTINE AND ANALYTICAL
  • Allergen Testing: knowing that a product is free from allergens is a matter of life and death for those with food allergies. We can perform rigorous allergen testing to confirm that plant-based dairy products are allergen-free.
FOOD SAFETY SOFTWARE
  • EnviroMap: a multi-asset tool to improve and facilitate your Food Safety Management program. Manage all of your data in one place, from raw materials to finished product, environmental monitoring data including air and water and ATP testing, gain faster time to react, real-time history of activities, and automated corrective actions.
RESEARCH PROJECTS
  • Commercial Sterility Testing: our testing for aseptically packaged plant-based dairy alternatives ensures reliable results to ensure good quality products to market earlier in the shelf life.

  • Ingredient Authenticity: we use cutting-edge techniques to verify the ingredients used in plant-based dairy products, confirming their authenticity and preventing mislabeling.

    Microbial Safety Testing: maintaining product safety is a primary concern. Through microbial testing, we can detect and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, ensuring that plant-based dairy products are safe for consumption.

FOOD SENSORY

Sensory and Shelf-Life Evaluation: at Mérieux NutriSciences, we can conduct shelf-life studies to assess the longevity of plant-based dairy products, ensuring they meet consumers' expectations. Additionally, we can analyze sensory attributes to ensure they meet their target sensory characteristics of appearance, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor. 

REGULATORY
  • Nutritional Analysis: we use accurate nutritional and dietary information, essential for consumers who rely on plant-based products for specific dietary needs. We can provide detailed nutritional analysis to ensure trustworthy product labels.

Embrace the Future of Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives with Your Trusted Partner for Quality and Safety

Plant-based dairy alternatives are gaining popularity due to their numerous health and ethical advantages. However, analytical services are essential to ensure these dairy alternatives' safety, authenticity, and nutritional accuracy. As a manufacturer or business whose consumers are seeking premium quality plant-based dairy products, we are a trusted partner that ensures excellence in this ever-evolving industry. To embrace the future of dairy plant-based products, consider incorporating plant-based options and partner with Mérieux NutriSciences for optimal results.

We are committed to providing high-quality analytical services tailored to your specific needs. Our team of experts possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in the plant-based dairy industry and is dedicated to helping you achieve your objectives. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in your plant-based dairy endeavors.

 


References

[1] Good Food Institute. (n.d.). Market Research. GFI - The Good Food Institute. https://gfi.org/marketresearch/ 

[2] Walther, B., Guggisberg, D., Badertscher, R., Egger, L., Portmann, R., Dubois, S., Haldimann, M., Kopf-Bolanz, K., Rhyn, P., Zoller, O., Veraguth, R., & Rezzi, S. (2022, October 12). Comparison of nutritional composition between plant-based drinks and cow’s milk. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.988707/full

[3] Antoniussen, C. S., Rasmussen, H. H., Holst, M., & Lauridsen, C. (2021, September 7). Reducing disease activity of inflammatory bowel disease by consumption of plant-based foods and nutrients. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.733433/full%C2%A0

[4] Ritchie, H. (2022, January 19). Dairy vs. plant-based milk: What are the environmental impacts?. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impact-milks 

[5] Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. (n.d.). https://r.jordan.im/download/environmentalism/pimentel2003.pdf 

 

 

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