PLANT BASED DAIRY ALTERNATIVES 2021
5 Things Shaping the Spoonable, Plant-Based Yogurt
From 2015 to 2020, there were 27 times more new
product launches of spoonable, plant-based yogurt
alternatives than dairy yogurt (Innova Market Insights,
CAGR 2015 – 2020). The key factor powering this growth
and demand for vegan/plant-based products is consumers’
increasing focus on sustainability, health and wellness.
It’s no wonder that dairy alternatives continue to grow
in popularity. Besides attracting the flexitarians and curious
food explorers, those who may be lactose intolerant or allergic
to dairy are now enjoying the products. Using data from
Innova Market Insights (2021), here is a deeper dive into the
reasons behind its success:
1. Curiosity in plant-based diets expands.
Rising global interest in plant-based and flexitarian lifestyles
has driven this subcategory onward. It also gained
momentum following the emergence of “free-from” alternatives.
2. It appeals to developed regions as well
as emerging markets.
Europe and North America dominate development in nondairy,
spoonable yogurt, accounting for a combined 84%
of 2020 product launches. However, emerging markets
are leading in growth of new product launches, particularly
Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East/North Africa
3. Consumers look for products with health
Many products feature multiple benefit positionings. Top
claims include vegan, protein and lactose free.
4. An expansive range of ingredient
options became available.
As demand for spoonable, non-dairy yogurt has risen,
new, alternative ingredients have appeared as well. Soy
was the traditional favorite, as it was in non-dairy beverages.
Coconut, almond, oat and pea protein are popular
now. Coconut is prized for its creaminess and pea for its
5. Taste and texture are critical.
Dairy yogurts will always be the benchmark. Consumers
want non-dairy, spoonable yogurt to have an equivalent
texture, taste, mouthfeel and appearance. Products without
compromise will be the most successful in achieving
mainstream consumer adoption. This is important both
when appealing to the flexitarian and competing for shelf
space with the traditional dairy yogurts that still own the
The Right Ingredient Solution Helps
Overcome Texture Challenges
Consumers are not willing to compromise on taste and
texture. They want a similar eating experience as dairy
yogurt. However, working with plant proteins has its challenges:
the molecular structure and functionality of plant
proteins are different than animal proteins and require
formulation/process adjustments. Dairy proteins are
well-studied, stable and functional. In plant-based systems,
the isoelectric points may differ, which is related to
solubility. Many do not have complete amino acid profiles
so combining them can be a solution. Another important
aspect is unwanted flavor notes, which are extracted
along with the protein fraction. The high quantity of water,
the lack of casein, and the quality variation of plantbased
proteins impacts the overall quality.
A clean, recognizable label is important to consumers. Using,
multifunctional nature-based ingredients will complement
the use of plant proteins and help keep the overall
ingredient deck short (photo: CP Kelco)
4 · September/October 2021 ¦ international-dairy.com