Description

“Canadians have never had so much choice when it comes to milk. The continued emergence of non-dairy options and innovation in the dairy space affords shoppers different levels of quality, types of benefits and flavours. This also means the milk space has never been more competitive. Understanding what Canadians want is complicated by concerns around sustainability, an evolving demographic landscape and shifting health demands. Milk may be entrenched in Canadians’ diets, but growth in the category is far from guaranteed.”
– Joel Gregoire, Associate Director for Food and Drink

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • What types of dairy and non-dairy milk prove more (and less) popular.
  • The importance of dairy milk being ‘made in Canada’ relative to other considerations.
  • Consumers’ views on milk and sustainability.
  • The evolving demographic landscape’s impact on preferences.
  • Examples of launches to provide ‘thought starters’.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Dairy milk
            • Non-dairy milk
            • Executive Summary

                • Top takeaways
                  • Consumer trends
                    • Most Canadians view dairy milk as being more suitable for kids
                      • Most agree there should be a cap on dairy milk prices, although many are also willing to pay more for higher-quality offerings
                        • No one consideration dominates as a reason for selecting non-dairy milk
                          • Market predictions
                            • Innovation in the non-dairy space presents challenges for dairy milk
                              • Canadians may express concern about fat in milk, but behaviours suggest otherwise
                                • Figure 1: Category outlook: dairy and non-dairy milk, 2023-28
                              • Opportunities
                                • Thicker textures hold particular appeal with newer Canadians
                                  • Oat milk continues to captivate the attention of Canadians
                                    • Canada’s dairy farmers are a key point of relatability
                                    • Market Drivers

                                      • Food inflation continues to take a bite out of people’s wallets
                                        • Figure 2: Canadian year-over-year consumer price index (annualized inflation rate) for all items and food from retail, by month, 2019-23
                                        • Figure 3: Annualized monthly change in prices of food purchased from stores by category, May 2023 vs May 2022
                                        • Figure 4: Issues that affect Canadians, 2023
                                      • Commercial milk sales continue to show softness
                                        • Figure 5: Commercial sales of milk (Canada), 2010-22
                                        • Figure 6: Distribution of commercial sales of milk (Canada), 2010-22
                                      • Immigration continues to drive Canada’s population growth…
                                        • Figure 7: Overall actual/planned permanent resident admissions, 2021-25
                                      • …with Asia and India more specifically as the primary source
                                        • Figure 8: Permanent residents admitted to Canada, by country (top 10), 2022
                                    • Market Opportunities

                                      • Creamy textures are a claim being featured more prominently
                                        • Figure 9: Chobani Extra Creamy Oat Drink (US), 2022
                                        • Figure 10: Califia Farms Extra Creamy Almond Beverage (Canada), 2022
                                        • Figure 11: The Farm House Natural Cheeses Cream on the Top Whole Milk (US), 2022
                                      • Fun flavours are popping up
                                        • Figure 12: Milk.2go Instagram post, 2023
                                        • Figure 13: Nestlé Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk Lowfat Milk (US), 2021
                                        • Figure 14: Nestlé Sensations Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal Flavored Milk (US), 2022
                                        • Figure 15: Fairlife Yup! Cookies N’ Creamiest Ultra-Filtered Milk (US), 2020
                                        • Figure 16: Avocadomilk Chocolate Flavored Avocado Drink (US), 2020
                                        • Figure 17: Happy Plant Mornin’ Oatz Mango Peach Shake (Canada), 2022
                                      • Added-benefits can also add value in an era of high inflation
                                        • Figure 18: Agropur Natrel Plus Milk Protein Shake with 3.25% Milk Fat (Canada), 2022
                                        • Figure 19: Milk.2go Instagram post, 2022
                                        • Figure 20: Clover Sonoma Blue Moon Organic Blueberry Lavender Flavored 2% Reduced Fat Milk (US), 2022
                                        • Figure 21: PC Dairy-Free Kefir Probiotic Fermented Coconut Milk (Canada), 2022
                                      • Oat milk promotes a barista-like experience
                                        • Figure 22: Oatly! The Original Oat Milk (US), March 2019 and Oatly! Original Barista Oat Drink (Canada), 2021
                                        • Figure 23: Chobani Oat Plain Barista Edition Oat Drink (US), 2021
                                        • Figure 24: Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Oat Barista Blend with Oatmilk (US), 2022
                                      • Milk can address climate change head-on
                                        • Figure 25: Dairy Farmers of Canada: I’m In, 2022
                                        • Figure 26: Neutral Carbon Neutral Organic 2% Reduced Fat Milk (US), 2022
                                    • The Dairy and Non-dairy Milk Consumer – Fast Facts

                                      • Purchasing Dairy and Non-dairy Milk

                                        • Half of consumers purchase both dairy and non-dairy milk
                                          • Figure 27: Purchased dairy and/or non-dairy milk, 2023
                                        • Younger and ‘newer’ Canadians are more likely to drink plant-based milk
                                          • Figure 28: Purchased dairy and/or non-dairy milk, by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 29: Purchased dairy and/or non-dairy milk, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                      • Changes in Purchase Behaviour

                                        • Twice as many consumers claim to be purchasing more non-dairy milk than dairy milk
                                          • Figure 30: Perceived change in purchase behaviour, dairy vs non-dairy milk, 2023
                                        • Younger consumers show more volatile purchasing behaviour
                                          • Figure 31: Perceived change in purchase behaviour of dairy milk vs a year ago, by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 32: Perceived change in purchase behaviour of non-dairy milk vs a year ago, by age, 2023
                                      • Types of Dairy Milk Purchased

                                        • 2% milk remains the most popular type of dairy milk with Canadians
                                          • Figure 33: Types of dairy milk purchased, 2019 vs 2023
                                        • Younger adults are more likely to drink more varieties of dairy milk
                                          • Figure 34: Types of dairy milk purchased, by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 35: Purchase of whole milk, by presence and age of children in the household, 2023
                                          • Figure 36: Types of dairy milk purchased, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                      • Types of Non-dairy Milk Purchased

                                        • Almond milk reigns, but oat milk is ascendant
                                          • Figure 37: Types of non-dairy milk purchased, 2019 vs 2023
                                          • Figure 38: Types of non-dairy milk purchased, by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 39: Types of non-dairy milk purchased, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                      • Reasons for Consuming Non-dairy Milk

                                        • Health and taste are the main reasons why Canadians turn to non-dairy milk
                                          • Figure 40: Reasons for consuming non-dairy milk, 2023
                                        • Men are more motivated by sensory considerations when it comes to consuming non-dairy milk
                                          • Figure 41: Reasons for consuming non-dairy milk, men vs women, 2023
                                          • Figure 42: Reasons for consuming non-dairy milk, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                      • Reasons for Avoiding Non-dairy Milk

                                        • Aversion to the taste is the main barrier to consuming non-dairy milk
                                          • Figure 43: Reasons for not consuming non-dairy milk, 2023
                                          • Figure 44: “Don’t like the texture” as a reason for not consuming non-dairy milk, by age, 2023
                                      • What Matters When Purchasing Non-dairy Milk

                                        • No one consideration dominates as a factor when choosing non-dairy milk
                                          • Figure 45: What matters when purchasing non-dairy milk, 2023
                                          • Figure 46: “Tastes like dairy milk” as mattering when purchasing non-dairy milk, men vs women, 2023
                                          • Figure 47: “Functional benefits” as mattering when purchasing non-dairy milk, by age, 2023
                                      • What Matters When Purchasing Dairy Milk

                                        • Being ‘made in Canada’ matters immensely to consumers of dairy milk
                                          • Figure 48: What matters when purchasing dairy milk, 2023
                                        • Older adults place greater value on milk being produced in Canada
                                          • Figure 49: What matters when purchasing dairy milk (select), by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 50: What matters when purchasing dairy milk (select), newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                          • Figure 51: Ultra-filtered milk and omega-3 as mattering when purchasing dairy milk, by region, 2023
                                      • Appealing Areas of Innovation

                                        • Environmental packaging and functional benefits are the most appealing areas of innovation
                                          • Figure 52: Appealing areas of dairy and non-dairy milk innovation, 2023
                                          • Figure 53: Nutrinor Cooperative Instagram post, 2023
                                        • Newer Canadians are much more likely to express interest in milk with thicker textures and different flavours
                                          • Figure 54: Appealing areas of dairy and non-dairy milk innovation (select), newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
                                          • Figure 55: Appealing areas of dairy and non-dairy milk innovation (select), by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 56: “Sold in environmental packaging” as being an appealing innovation, by region, 2023
                                      • Attitudes toward Milk and Price

                                        • Most believe the price of milk should be capped
                                          • Figure 57: Attitudes toward milk and price, 2023
                                        • Younger adults hold more flexible views around milk and price
                                          • Figure 58: Attitudes toward milk and price (% agree), by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 59: Attitudes toward milk and price (% agree), by parental status, 2023
                                      • Attitudes toward Milk and Sustainability

                                        • Canadians express trust in dairy producers as it relates to environmental stewardship…
                                          • Figure 60: Attitudes toward milk and sustainability, 2023
                                        • …but younger adults are less trusting
                                          • Figure 61: Attitudes toward milk and sustainability (% agree), by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 62: “Drinking non-dairy milk is better for the environment” (% agree), by region, 2023
                                      • Attitudes toward Milk and Health/Variety

                                        • Most agree that it’s more important for kids to drink milk than it is for adults
                                          • Figure 63: Attitudes toward milk and health and variety, 2023
                                          • Figure 64: Everybody Milk: 30, 2022
                                          • Figure 65: Attitudes toward milk and health and variety (% agree), by age, 2023
                                          • Figure 66: Attitudes toward milk and health and variety (% agree), by parental status, 2023
                                      • Attitudes toward Dairy Milk Production

                                        • Nearly everyone expresses support for Canada’s dairy producers
                                          • Figure 67: Attitudes toward dairy milk production, 2023
                                          • Figure 68: Attitudes toward dairy milk production (% agree), by age, 2023
                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                        • Consumer survey data
                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                            • Abbreviations

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