Milk alternatives, particularly almond and cashew beverages, experienced rapid growth over the review period, and saw an acceleration in growth in recent years. Although soy drinks was negatively impacted by concerns over GMO and a lack of novelty, other milk alternatives more than offset the decline in soy drinks.
Although drinking milk products has managed to return to positive growth territory in current value terms, which is expected to continue over the forecast period, volume sales will continue to be on a slow downward trajectory. Drinking milk products face already high household penetration, lack of true innovation (due in part to the tight regulation on dairy products), and an expanding ageing population (less interested in beverages, including milk).
Health Canada’s updated Food Guide for local consumers no longer includes the recommendation to include a daily dose of dairy in the diet, instead stressing the importance of eating a wide variety of products, with an emphasis on plant-based proteins. While this, amidst a general rising tide of health consciousness among Canadian consumers, could have a negative effect on overall consumption, the make-up of drinking milk products could also be changed by recently agreed treaties by the Canadian government.
Saputo, Agropur Cooperative and Parmalat Canada continue to be the dominant players in drinking milk players in Canada. Nevertheless, their value sales shares in drinking milk products have been declining, not least due to the increasing interest in emerging niches, such as milk alternatives, in which they have little presence.
Despite the strong positions of the three main players in drinking milk products, relatively smaller players and brands are nevertheless finding success in niche areas such as health and wellness categories, goat milk or milk alternatives. Organic Meadow launched Organic Grass Fed Milk in organic products – made using milk from cows that eat organic grass or dried forage all year round.
Pacific Foods, a major player in organic soup, entered milk alternatives in 2018. It launched beverages made from organic and Fair Trade-certified cashews that “support safe working conditions and sustainable growing practices in the farming communities”.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.