Optimizing Colour in Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives

Health, environmental, and ethical considerations drive the growing popularity of plant-based dairy alternatives globally. Lead by the younger generations, about 40% of European consumers already use dairy alternative products (Mintel). While unflavoured milk alternatives are more common, the number of flavoured concepts in the market is increasing. In 2020, almost 1 in 4 European launches contained some kind of added flavour (Mintel). New, exciting concepts like a baked apple and cinnamon flavoured yoghurt or a mango coconut drink offer great opportunity to appeal to both regular plant-based dairy alternative users and consumers experimenting with this category.

Cheese alternatives are fairly new to many European markets, however, the number of launches in 2020 has doubled since 2016 (Mintel). The Vegan Society expects the European cheese alternative market to grow at a CAGR of 13.0% between 2020 – 2025. From Cheddar, through Parmesan to blue cheese, the variety of potential alternatives is almost endless.

Whether it’s flavoured milk, yoghurt, or cheese alternatives, colours play a key role in creating products that appeal to consumers. Colourings can match the shade of the dairy-based equivalent and support any flavour profile. Vibrant looks also help brands to catch the eye of the consumer from the crowded shelves or in the digital space.

What are the possible colouring options for plant-based alternatives? 1 in 2 European consumers reported trying to avoid products with artificial additives as part of eating/drinking healthily, therefore formulating with natural and simple ingredients, like colouring foods and natural colours is key in meeting consumer needs.

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