Insights on the plant-based dairy category in India 

Overview

The dietary landscape in India is undergoing a significant transformation, with plant-based milk emerging as a key player. This emerging category, highlighted by its growing familiarity, health, and nutritional benefits, is gaining widespread acceptance. Consumers are drawn to plant-based milk not only for its novelty but also for its taste, digestibility, and health benefits, with health advantages often cited as a primary reason for its adoption.

Valued at INR 250 crores in 2021, the broader plant-based dairy category in India is projected to reach INR 891 crores by 2025 and could expand to anywhere between INR 4,827 crore and INR 10,625 crore by 2030. This growth is complemented by an export potential of INR 459 crores to INR 1,889 crores by 2030. The category includes over 45 brands and 223 SKUs ranging from alternatives to milk and yogurt to butter, cheese, and more, and is the most developed in the plant-based food market. 

Our report, conducted in partnership with Metrix Labs and based on a qualitative survey of 87 participants, aims to understand user experiences with both plant-based and animal-derived milk. It delves into consumer awareness, trial, and the drivers and barriers of consumption, offering valuable insights for manufacturers to develop and grow the plant-based dairy segment in India.

Key insights from the report

  • Users of plant-based milk are clear about its term and sources. A majority of them can differentiate plant-based milk from animal-derived milk based on color, taste, and consistency.
  • Among the different types of plant-based milk offered by the category, awareness of soy milk is the highest, followed closely by almond milk. Both oat and coconut milk also register significant recognition among consumers.
  • Sofit, Epigamia, So Good Oat Mylk, Raw Pressery, Urban Platter, and Silk are some brands that have high awareness and usage among consumers.
  • Taste followed by availability, feedback from other consumers, brand name, and health are the key factors influencing the purchase decision for plant-based milk. Consumer awareness about the link between sustainability and plant-based milk is limited.
  • A majority of consumers use both plant-based milk and animal-derived milk in their diets.
    • Consumers predominantly view animal-derived milk as a good source of calcium, beneficial for general good health and strengthening of bones. Conversely, concerns around bloating/indigestion, lactose intolerance, adulteration of the milk, and animal exploitation are also prevalent.
    • Plant-based milk is considered tasty and easily digestible with nutritional or health benefits. Health is the primary reason users give to convince friends and family to try plant-based milk.
    • Accessibility (affordability and availability) and versatility are the key challenges faced by the users of plant-based milk. Affordability is the single most important factor influencing the switch between brands, followed by availability. One in four consumers also make plant-based milk at home due to constraints of affordability and availability. Most consumers in the target group are willing to pay about a 20% premium for plant-based milk over animal-derived milk.
  • Plant-based dairy as a category has to focus on improving affordability and distribution along with emphasizing its compatibility with India’s favorite hot beverages like tea and coffee.

Download the report