This report provides a complete analysis of the US dairy alternatives market. As consumers measure up this fresh industry, there is an opportunity for brands – new and seasoned – to capture interest. Now is the time to capitalize on the market and consumer trends happening today, and this report offers that insight.

Read on to discover the key topics covered and sample the contents of the report itself.

Key Topics Covered

  • Trended dairy alternative product purchases.
  • Dairy alternative consumption frequency.
  • Reasons and barriers for dairy alternative product purchase.
  • Dairy alternative consumer perceptions.
  • Interest in cross-category dairy alternative product innovation.
  • Attitudes and behaviors related to dairy alternatives.

US Dairy Alternatives Market Overview

While vegan consumers remain a core base for dairy alternative consumption, veganism as a dietary preference remains unchanged as a niche at 2% of the US population. This, coupled with the lackluster performance of the protein-based meat alternatives market serves as a reality check for dairy alternative brands. Mass-market appeal will be pivotal going forward. Dairy alternatives must deliver on taste/performance, and alongside clean label innovation, brands will be better positioned to draw the “alternative curious” in.

Dairy Alternatives Consumer Trends

  • Non-dairy milk represents the largest segment, by far. Yet, consumers are edging into other segments, as non-dairy yogurt shows strong gains and notable share. Gen Z consumers show keen interest here. Brands can appeal to the rise of functional benefits in food and drink, promising with younger consumers, and promote non-dairy yogurts as a BFY (better-for-you) alternative.
  • Dairy alternatives are a hit with Black and Hispanic consumers. Black and Hispanic consumers outpace other demographics by quite a margin for growth in household use of dairy alternative products. Stakeholders will want to implement marketing and targeting accordingly (see our Black American consumer research and Hispanic consumer research).
  • Consumers are feeling their way into dairy alternatives. As the category shows a lack of strong brand loyalty, there is an opportunity here to compete effectively. Dairy alternative product issues come down to price, taste, and performance. Brands will want to appeal to the large base of consumers open to trying new brands by addressing these issues.

What’s Next for Dairy Alternatives?

Given the freshness of the dairy alternatives market, there is room to grow. Most consumers gravitate toward taste when they go back to the shelf. But this is nothing new. Mintel observes that taste is the key factor across food and drink, and product innovation should follow accordingly. For a deeper exploration of opportunities in the US dairy alternatives industry, buy the full report. Alternatively, browse our extensive library of food market research or drinks market research.

Brands Discussed

Where relevant, brands are incorporated into the analysis of the market. Launch activity/innovation and competitive strategies tie into successful brand examples, eg GT’s Cocoya Living Coconut Yogurt as a case of functional benefits in action, Bored Cow with their Animal-Free Dairy Milk using fermentation, or “invisible cows” in place of traditional methods, and much more.

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Expert Analysis

In this report, category director and leading analyst Mimi Bonnett delivers industry analysis and commentary on the consumer trends impacting dairy alternatives in the US.

Dairy alternative acceptance continues to grow slowly, yet the push beyond “milk” is slow in coming, especially among older adults.

Mimi Bonnett - Senior Director of Mintel US Food and Drink


Mimi Bonnett
Director of Food, Drink & Foodservice Reports

Table of Contents

    • Key issues covered in this Report
  1. Executive Summary

  2. Consumer Insights

    • The dairy alternatives consumer: fast facts
    • Trended dairy alternative household usage
    • Graph 1: trended household member use of dairy alternatives, 2020-23
    • Trended dairy alternative product usage
    • Graph 2: trended types of dairy alternative products used, 2020-23
    • Dairy Alternative Product Consumption Frequency
    • Reasons for purchasing dairy alternative products
    • Graph 3: reasons for purchasing dairy alternative products, 2023
    • Graph 4: reasons for purchasing dairy alternative products, by generation, 2023
    • Reasons for not purchasing dairy alternatives
    • Graph 5: reasons for not using dairy alternative products, 2023
    • Dairy alternative cheese product interest
    • Graph 6: interest in select dairy alternative cheese product types, 2023
    • Dairy alternative ice cream product interest
    • Graph 7: interest in dairy alternative ice cream product types, by age, 2023
    • Dairy alternative product purchase motivators
    • Graph 8: dairy alternative purchase motivators, 2023
    • Graph 9: dairy alternative purchase motivators, by generation, 2023
    • Dairy alternative behaviors
    • Graph 10: dairy alternative behaviors, brand purchasing behaviors, by age
    • Graph 11: dairy alternative behaviors, purchase location, by financial situation
  3. Competitive Strategies

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Graph 12: US; dairy alternative product launches, Q1/Q2 2019-Q1/Q2 2023
    • Graph 13: product attribute scores, DA cheese vs dairy cheese, 2021-23
    • Opportunities
    • Graph 14: penetration of dairy alternative cheese at restaurants, Q1 2020-Q1 2023
    • Graph 15: coffee creamer usage, any plant-based creamer, by generation
    • Graph 16: product attribute scores, DA ice cream vs dairy ice cream, Jan 2021 – Aug 2023
    • Graph 17: share by claims, DA yogurt vs dairy yogurt, 2020-23
    • Graph 18: uses of dairy vs non-dairy milk, 2023
  4. The Market

    • Market drivers
    • Graph 19: trended dietary preferences, 2020-23
    • Graph 20: total retail sales and forecast of plant-based meat substitutes, by segment, at current prices, 2018-28
  5. Appendix

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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