Consumer choices are constantly evolving and in the dairy sector we are witnessing prominent growth in market offerings for dairy-alternatives as more plant-based alternatives are added to supermarket shelves, coffee shops and petrol stations each year. Almost every coffee shop chain in the UAE now offers plant-based milk choices to their customers, with many opting for the barista versions which deliver creamy, frothy and indulgent cappuccinos or lattes. This is not a passing trend anymore and is one that is here to stay and grow in the GCC.
The growth of dairy-alternatives in the UAE market has been very evident in the past two years. Brands that have accessed the GCC market with basic plant-based milks such as Almond, Coconut, Soy, Oat, Rice, Hazelnut or Macadamia are gradually introducing new variants now which includes blends, barista versions and flavored milks. Newly launched notable flavors include Mango and Banana while others are enriching their offerings with added nutrients, proteins and fibers. The standard Vanilla and Chocolate flavors have been available in the market for nearly a decade and their growing market share is indicating an upward trend.
The next segment which industry leaders such as Alpro and Koita are now tapping into are for school lunches with smaller 250ml packs of flavored offerings, appealing to children’s taste buds and their environmental and ethical considerations. 65% of Gen-Z said they want to follow a more “plant-forward” diet, while 54% of Millennials are eating more plant-based foods and call themselves flexitarian, as per an article from The Beet.