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Brief Published: 19 Oct 2018

The Indulgent Future of Vegan Dairy: Top 3 Innovations

L-R: Daiya, Lavva, Wonderfuel

At Natural Products Expo East 2018, dairy alternatives continued their mass-market push. Plant-based milk now accounts for 13% of all US milk sales (Nielsen, 2018), while cheese, yoghurt and ice cream are the fastest-growing plant-based segments. We highlight three category innovations to watch.

  • The Melt Factor: Savvy brands are emphasising vegan food’s indulgent side with junk food-inspired cheese sauces. In 2017, Canadian company Daiya introduced a Cheeze Sauce line that blends tapioca starch, pea protein and coconut oil to replicate melty cheese’s unctuous texture. 

    Other brands are opting for whole food thickeners, smartly appealing to both vegan and non-vegan consumers craving better-for-you options (a category explored in depth in Frozen Food’s Health Push). Californian company Parmela makes nacho-style dips with cultured cashews, which impart a creamy texture and cheesy flavour. For a lower-calorie option, North Carolina-based Plant Based Pantry thickens its nacho sauce with potatoes. 
  • Yoghurt’s Plant Pivot: Yoghurt sales have increased since 2012 and steady growth is projected until 2022 (Supermarket News, 2018). Complementing the nut-based yoghurts seen at 2017’s Natural Products Expo East, New York-based Lavva deploys Southeast Asian pili nuts to give its yoghurt a light flavour and silky mouthfeel. For tangier yoghurt, consumers can try fellow New York brand Nancy’s oat milk yoghurt, which is boosted with probiotics. 

  • More Than Milk: Clever producers are introducing plant-based, non-dairy beverages with added benefits. Similar to its full-fat nut milk, presented at Natural Products Expo West 2018, Californian brand Forager Project introduced a half-and-half drink that mixes cashews with coconut cream for a mild flavour and lush texture.

    Functional products are also growing in number. California-based Wonder Fuel riffs on keto-friendly beverages with its coconut drink infused with MCT oil, a supplement intended to promote mental acuity. 

    See Oceania Food Trends: Fine Foods Australia for more innovation in non-dairy milks.

For more on veganism’s multifaceted future, see Materials for Vegan-Friendly LifestylesMcDonald’s Launches Vegan Burger and Superdrug’s Vegan Pop-Up.