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The dairy industry is facing big challenges from the dairy alternatives market, according to Rabobank, with further growth predicted for the sector.

Once dominated by soy products, alternatives now cover a range of plant-based proteins from pea to nuts, lupins to hemp, and products have extended beyond milk substitutes to include a range of cheeses, yogurt, desserts and ice cream.

Some traditional dairy companies and organisations have chosen to focus on increasing marketing for the positives of dairy products, while others have gone on an anti-plant-based offensive.

Yet others have joined the party, either catering to flexitarians, vegetarians, or vegans with their own range of products, or through acquisitions.

The global dairy alternatives market was worth $US8.51 billion in 2016, according to market reserach firm Stratistics MRC, and it predicts that it will grow at a CAGR of 12.5 per cent to reach $US19.45 billion by 2023.

In contrast, US per-capita consumption of dairy milk beverages decreased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2016, according to data from USDA’s economic research service, with the biggest drop seen in fat-free and skim milk. Whole milk saw a slight resurgence.

 

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