The Evolving Market For Plant-Based Milk: Alfalfa and Other Potential Sources

For reasons of health, sustainability, or a desire to try, more consumers are choosing plant-based milks than ever, driving a rapidly growing global market. This interest offers a unique opportunity to educate consumers on the health benefits of plant-based milks, as well as the environmental impact of the supply chain sustaining their production and distribution. Created from a collaboration between the Innovation Institute for Food & Health, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and Barnstorm Foundry, this report discusses the potential utilization of a new crop for plant-based milk production. As one of the most common crops in the United States, alfalfa is more amenable to growth over a wider region of the country’s farmland and utilizes less water than other leading alternative milk crops, while offering unique nutritional benefits due to high antioxidant levels. With these considerations, we outline the state of the existing plant-based milk market and identify a niche for the emergence and growth of a new alfalfa-based milk product.

Full report available below. 

IIFH GSM Plant Based Milk Market Report Cover

The transformative food category of plant-based milks has seen rapid development and expansion and accounts for 16% of all milk sales.1b This growth coincides with a convergence between consumer’s increasing interest in how food affects the long-term health of both themselves and the planet. In this white paper, we explore the current state of the market as well as the investment potential for a hypothetical new type of plant-based milk, alfalfa. Key features that we discuss are consumer purchase behavior, economics, nutrition, and sustainability. We conclude our analysis with frameworks on what features may be needed to be competitive, the current investment landscape, and an overall summary on the alternative-milk market landscape.

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Plant-based milks: from barista bars to supermarket shelves, these dairy alternatives have taken the world by storm. But how did we get to this point, and what does their growing popularity mean for human health? To answer these questions and more, we take a look at the current state of the plant-based milk market and what drives consumer interest in trying them, as well as thinking more about a potential new crop for milk products.

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