Preparing for a New World: Investments made in Dairy Alternatives

With the recent IPO of Oatly (OTLY), it seems relevant to look at the worldwide dairy alternatives industry, which was valued at USD 20.5 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 12.5 percent from 2021 to 2028. Consumer desire for products that are better for their bodies and the environment is increasing, as are incidences of milk allergy and lactose intolerance, which also drive demand for alternatives, as we see in the Cleaner Living investment topic. Concerns about hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics in cows and a desire to eat less sugar are increasing the demand for dairy alternatives.

The world's dairy cow population is projected to be 278 million, including 9.3 million in the United States. In 2017, the cows generated around 909 million tonnes of milk, with 12 percent produced in the United States. Here's the point: in the United States, it takes an estimated 144 gallons of water to create 1 gallon of milk, with over 93 percent of that water going to grow feed for dairy cattle, which consumes roughly 100 pounds of feed each day.

To simply put together, dairy milk is an inefficient use of resources. It's debatable if any dairy substitutes are better for the environment, so let's not get into that here. There is always the potential for improvement when it comes to dairy, regardless of one's tastes. According to a newly released analysis on the cashew milk market, there are around 79 million vegans globally, and approximately 68 percent of the global population has lactose malabsorption, making it a large market. As per Cédric Boehm, Head of Dairy for Nestlé Europe, Middle East, and North Africa, at least four out of ten European buyers are already opting for a dairy substitute.
 
So, what are the primary options?

Soy milk appeals to women and the elderly because its isoflavones have been linked to a reduced chance of heart disease and breast cancer. Its phytoestrogens are thought to be a natural estrogen substitute. Almond milk is an excellent choice for individuals on a ketogenic or vegan diet since it's high in lipids, fibre, and protein. It's also linked to better blood pressure control, and because it's high in vitamin E and manganese, it's thought to be good for skin and cancer prevention.
Coconut milk contains little to no protein and is low in calories but rich in fat. This is not a discussion about the canned sort available on the store shelf for cooking, but rather the one found in the refrigerated department with the other milk substitutes. Cashew milk is high in vitamin E and has a low calorie, cholesterol, and sugar content.

Oat milk is made by squeezing the liquid from oats. It's high in protein, low in fat, and devoid of gluten, lactose, nuts, and eggs, all of which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. It has a higher carbohydrate and calorie content than non-dairy options. Rice milk has a sweeter flavour than other options, but it is heavy in carbs, calories, protein, and fibre.

Hemp milk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are suitable for your heart, and it contains fewer calories than whole dairy milk. Nestlé has introduced Wunda, a new pea-based beverage marketed as "epic in everything" and intended to replace regular milk. The brand will debut in France, the Netherlands, and Portugal initially. It is on its way to other European markets. The product is created from yellow peas and is a high-quality source of protein, high in fibre, low in sugar, fortified with calcium, and carbon neutral. Wunda has a "neutral flavour," according to Nestlé, despite what one may imagine when they hear yellow peas. The product was created as part of Nestlé's R&D Accelerator programme at the time.

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