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Plant-Based Dairy in Asia Pacific

November 2022

Growth in plant-based dairy slowed in 2022, following the relatively strong rebound seen in 2021, after sales had shown a marked decline in 2020, mainly due to the pandemic-induced slump in the Chinese market in this year. Other plant-based milk, thanks to its dominance in China, has slightly higher sales than soy drinks in the region, while plant-based yoghurt and cheese remain very small categories. Other plant-based milk will be driving overall market growth in the region in 2022-2027.

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Key findings

Other plant-based milk driving overall market growth

Sales recorded a particularly sharp decline in China in 2020, impacted by the strict COVID-19 measures introduced across a number of its cities and regions. Given the size of the Chinese market, this therefore also dragged down the overall Asia Pacific performance in this year. While there was a relatively strong recovery in 2021, followed by further positive growth in 2022, sales have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels in either China or the region as a whole.

Soy drinks with functional ingredients appearing in South Korea

Soy drinks is the most developed area of plant-based dairy in both Japan and South Korea, and is also a fairly mature category in both countries. Players in South Korea are therefore attempting to offer additional value to local consumers through functional ingredients to maintain interest and demand, such as Vegemil’s new soy drink with BCAA, protein, calcium and vitamins B and D.

E-commerce a small but growing channel

Already recording strong growth pre-pandemic, the e-commerce channel’s value share gains were given further impetus by the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. Online sales have continued to register healthy growth rates in both 2021 and 2022, reaching a regional share of almost 9%. The biggest e-commerce share is 31% in South Korea, up from 17% in 2019. Nevertheless, modern grocery retailers, mainly supermarkets (38%) and hypermarkets (17%), remains the main mode of distribution in Asia Pacific, followed by small local grocers (22%).

Modest growth expected for much of 2022-2027

Growth in plant-based dairy will peak in 2023, before then gradually slowing year on year, and even slipping into (slight) decline in 2027. The other plant-based milk category’s performance will be very much in line with the overall market’s, while soy drinks will be stagnating or declining slightly during the forecast period. Plant-based yoghurt and, in particular, plant-based cheese will see strong growth, albeit from still very small sales bases.

 

Scope
Key findings
Asia Pacific has the largest regional plant-based dairy market
Positive growth expected for Asia Pacific over the 2022-2027 period
Indonesia is the most dynamic market in Asia Pacific
Other plant-based milk suffers regionally due to the 2020 collapse in Chinese sales
Plant-based cheese very dynamic, but also still very small in total sales terms
Outside China, other plant-based milk drinks has generally been performing strongly
Supermarkets is the main distribution channel in Asia Pacific
E-commerce continues growing, but still has a share of less than 10%
Plant-based dairy relatively fragmented at a regional level
FreeNow seeing growth in its retail sales of coconut milk in China
China the main revenue generator for half of Asia Pacific’s top 10 plant-based dairy players
Yangyuan, Coconut Palm and Lolo make up an all-Chinese top three
Modest growth expected over much of the 2022-2027 period
Other plant-based milk will be the main growth driver in actual sales terms
Habit persistence and rising GDP among the main growth drivers in the coming years
China: Market Context
China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Hong Kong, China: Market Context
Hong Kong, China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
India: Market Context
India: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Indonesia: Market Context
Indonesia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Japan: Market Context
Japan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Malaysia: Market Context
Malaysia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Philippines: Market Context
Philippines: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Singapore: Market Context
Singapore: Competitive and Retail Landscape
South Korea: Market Context
South Korea: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Taiwan: Market Context
Taiwan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Thailand: Market Context
Thailand: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Vietnam: Market Context
Vietnam: Competitive and Retail Landscape
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