1 July 2019

Towards a substitution of dairy products by plants?


Vegetable milk products are constantly being introduced into our shelves

Drinks, desserts, spreads, ice creams made from soya, coconut, almond, spelt, rice, buckwheat, cashew nuts … And many other nuts, cereals or seeds…

In order not to miss the golden goose, brands such as Bjorg, Alpro, Sojasun, Vita Coco – or Saint Hubert, Charles & Alice, Flora (Unilever’s new brand), N.A or Andros – are investing heavily in R&D, to diversify and participate in this innovation race.


Largely driven by the emergence of organic and vegan products, the quest for a more varied and balanced diet, but also by questions of allergies and intolerances (cow’s milk and lactose), the consumption of vegetable milk products is becoming more widespread. And it constitutes a good alternative to animal dairy products.

Thus, last year, sales of vegetable milks rose by 20%. While those of cow’s milk fell by 4%. But can plants replace dairy products?

The French are turning away from dairy products and the confusion between the benefits of the two types of products is accentuated by the packaging and communication codes of the vegetable market inspired by dairy products.

Results of a mixture of water and cereals or dried fruit: the seeds are soaked in water, ground and then the mixture is filtered. These vegetable products rich in magnesium, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids are a good anti-cholesterol. On the other hand, when they are not fortified, they are naturally low in vitamins D, B12. In the same way, their contribution of calcium and protein is rather limited to the difference of cow’s milk.

According to scientists and health professionals, in terms of nutritional intake, vegetable milk products can therefore never replace cow’s milk, especially in infant feeding.

In order to avoid confusion in the minds of consumers in Europe, the designations “milk”, “cheese”, butter”, “yoghurt”, “cream” or even “whipped cream” have only been used for dairy products and therefore of animal origin, since June 2017.


In any case, plant products are constantly attracting new followers. The very dynamic market is undoubtedly destined for a bright future with the constant development of products that meet consumers’ needs for healthy, diversified and gourmet food. 

In addition, in other European countries such as Italy, Spain and the Benelux countries, the enthusiasm for plants is already widely established. In the United States, the magnitude of this trend has increased tenfold and continues to gain ground. And it is now applying in the meat counter…


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The LDB Mica Research team