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Oat milk now the cream of vegan alternatives

A third of Brits use plant-based milk, up from a quarter in 2020, and half of UK adults think milk choices make a difference to the environment.

That's the trend noted by Mintel in its latest UK shopper habits research.

What's more, sales of oat milk almost doubled between 2019 and 2020 to a hearty £146m, up from £74m in 2019, overtaking almond milk (£105m in 2020). That makes oat milk the nation's favourite vegan milk.

Total spend on plant-based milk (including oat, almond, soya, coconut and rice) reached £394 million in 2020, increasing 32% from 2019. Sales of cow's milk reached £3.2bn in 2020.

Standard cow's milk continues to decline among younger consumers, dropping to 84% of 16-24s compared to 96% of those aged 65+.

Almost a quarter (23%) of adults agree that plant-based milk is better for them than cow's milk, while half (50%) of adults agree people's milk choices make a difference to the environment. Overall, a quarter (26%) of adults agree the COVID-19 outbreak has made vegan/plant-based food and drink more appealing to them, rising to 38% of under-35s.

“The plant-based trend continues to gain momentum in the UK, fuelled by environmental and health considerations,” says Amy Price, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. “Almost a third of adults drink plant-based milk, evidence of its firmly mainstream status and appeal far beyond the vegan or vegetarian populations.”

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