While soy milk continues to dominate the growing dairy-free market in most countries of the world, there are signs that newer alternatives are emerging into the mainstream grocery sector, using alternative ingredients such as rice, oats and, more recently, almonds. Dairy alternative drinks launches recorded on the Innova Database reached over 600 in 2010, with almond milks and milk blends accounting for over 8% of that. While the number of dairy alternative drinks launched was at a similar level to that in 2009, the share of almond lines was up from 6%, which in itself was double the 3% penetration of almond products five years previously in 2005.
While non-dairy milk alternatives are still a relatively small market overall outside Asia, purchase levels are rising with growing awareness of allergy and intolerance issues and the low fat, low calorie and cholesterol-free positioning of many of the products. Within that, soy is facing problems in some developed markets, particularly the US, with regard to health scares, and the result in some instances has been a move to non-soy milk alternatives, including those made with ingredients such as rice, hemp, oats and coconut, as well as almonds and other nuts.
While almond milks have been available in health food stores for many years, it is their emergence into the mainstream market that has been most notable of late. The US has led this trend, with nearly one-fifth of the 2010 dairy alternative drink launches recorded by Innova Market Insights being almond milk or almond milk blends.