Imagine you are standing in a coffee bar and you have more choice of which milk you want to have in your cappuccino, than the actual menu. Why is normal or alternative milk so important today? And what is the underlying value for Millennials and Generation Zers?
Back in the day, plant-based milk used to be the cheaper alternative for dairy, but not anymore. Alternative milk (more milk options) are getting more expensive, sustainable and popular in particular especially among youngsters and children. That’s why this market is growing exponentially. However, the popularity among youngsters is rising, not only in milk particularly, but also in combination with the coffee consumption among this group of people. These youngsters like to innovate and experiment with alternative milk as well as coffee. In this small story, the focus will be on alternative milk options. Also, celebrities recently decided to invest in the new “White Gold” (name for alternative milk).
Plant-based milk is an alternative for animal milk. It refers to a manufactured and non-dairy beverage made from plants for flavouring and aromas. It often has a creamy texture and is often perceived as a light drink. These types of milk are originally very popular among vegans. In 2018, approximately 20 plants which are often used for plant-based diary (almond, coconut and oat) were the highest in demand globally. The global plant milk market was estimated at $16 billion dollars in 2018. Even in the United States, there was a high demand of Oatly, a Swedish company who powered up its production by 1250%. However, according CEO Toni Petersson they are often struggling to meet high demands. He said: “How do we supply when the growth is this crazy and rising?” But why is plant-based milk so popular among Millennials and Generation Zers (Franklin-Wallis, 2019)?
Youngsters tend to make the switch due to ethical concerns about animal abuse in modern dairy farming. Also, health reasons and intolerance to dairy are most likely the causes of the switch. But the strangest cause is the fact that they JUST want to switch to an alternative product because it is good for their identity even if they have to pay double the price. Isn’t it perfect for your reputation to sit in a hipster coffee bar drinking sustainable coffee together with an animal-milk-alternative? Youngsters post Instagrammable pictures online in fancy bars explaining how important it is to think about nature and sustainability. This, for them, also contributes towards a more purposeful life, which is something each of them are looking for. To add another factor, youngsters love innovations especially with coffee which as a beverage, is also increasing in demand among Millennials and Generation Zers.
And somehow, they are right. Alternative milk is better to produce for the environment than ‘normal’ dairy milk. Statistics show a huge difference in for example land use or water use. According to BBC’s stats, we a big difference between the dairy milk production and the plant-based milk production especially oat-milk and soy-milk, they are extremely environmental friendly. The emissions are relatively low compared to dairy milk. It is something that hasn’t been unnoticed among the younger generations (Clara Guibourg, 2019).
It has been mentioned before already, coffee bars are one the most important factors as to why youngsters drink more alternative milk and coffee. According the Waterfall Gourmet Beverages, a distributor in special coffee-related demands, is stating that restaurants and coffee shops need to add vegan products and milk alternatives on the menu in order to keep their businesses alive (Waterfallbeverages, 2020). Millennials and Generations Zers are more likely to buy coffee that is accompanied by an experience. Coffee bars are a perfect example. A coffee bar nowadays is more than just coffee. It has more expression, focus on sustainability and often a young cool vibe. According to research, that is THE reason why younger generations drink more coffee than previous generations. And it is interesting to see that an offline source as a coffee bar contributes to an extreme demand of alternative milk and coffees. It is unlikely to think there is no coffee available on every corner of the street. The amount of hip and Instragrammable coffee bars is rising. This results in a tremendous exposure of alternative milk options, innovative new brews and amazing new coffee concepts to the potential consumer without any big marketing campaign (Grant, 2020).
Last but not least, recently 2 big celebrities invested a big amount of money in the company “Oatly”. This Swedish company was founded in 1990, entered the US market 5 years ago and got extremely popular. This company claimed to have received a big amount of investment money including investment giant Blackstone Group, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and Natalie Portman. Together they cover $200 million dollars. This shows the growing interest in plant-based milk (BBC, 2020).
In conclusion, Millennials and Generation Zers are causing a rise in interest in alternative milk and coffees. They want to buy an experience, Instagrammable vibes and a nice drink all in one. And that in combination with a purposeful mindset behind the concept. Sustainability and Ethical cases are the main values of these youngsters and they want to contribute to a better wolrd. Isn’t it beautiful to live in a world where you can contribute towards making better coffee while enjoying your very own Latte Macchiato with Oat milk with an amazing vibe?!