How F&B manufacturers can meet the needs of their customers
By John Jose, Marketing Director of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Philippines
Plant-based milk has been around in the market for a long time, being formerly relegated to specialty grocery stores and health food stores as an alternative to dairy milk, especially for those with strict dietary concerns.
However, the steady growth of alternative milk in quantity and popularity in the market has served as a solution for consumers who are adopting a cleaner, healthier lifestyle, such as veganism and desire to lower their environmental impact.
Data gathered by Transparency Market Research shows that dairy alternative market in APAC is anticipated to reach a value of US$19.8 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 10.7 percent.
This data supports one of the major themes and trends we discovered in our newly released Trendipedia report on global consumer trends. We found that people are using the way they eat and drink to bring a feeling of control to their lives, enabling them to improve their physical health and mental well-being.
As such, it is no surprise that many consumers are turning to plant-based milk beverages as they carry a wide range of healthy and nutritional benefits to include in their diet.
The benefits of milk substitutes
When choosing between milk substitutes, the best rule of thumb is to choose one that suits your lifestyle, preferences, and nutritional goals.
While there are many similarities between oat, soy and almond milk, the nutritional profile of each is quite different. For example, did you know that soy milk provides a good protein source and contains all the essential amino acids? This makes it a great option for those with a vegan diet or who are lactose intolerant.
Soy milk is also a lactose-free, flavourful beverage manufactured from soybeans. It’s abundant in calcium and potassium and contains vitamins A, B-12, and D nutrients. In fact, soy milk can be used as a dairy milk alternative since it contains the same amount of protein as cow’s milk.
On the other hand, almond milk is produced from pulverised almonds and water that is lactose and dairy-free. Embodying a sweet, nutty flavour, almond milk contains a lot of calcium, and magnesium, and is high in Vitamin E, which is vital for your immune system and blood vessels. Some studies have shown an association between high vitamin E intake and a lower risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Another popular plant-based milk is oat milk. This milk is considered a great fiber source and has been proven to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. It is mild and has a creamy flavour that makes it suitable to pair with cereals, hot beverages, and drinking on its own. It is an excellent dairy-free milk option for people with nut allergies. Therefore, they should not consume plant-based milk such as almond milk.
Many people are unaware of the innovative and comprehensive process that goes into producing their delicious plant-based milk, which gets added to their cup of coffee, guaranteeing the quality of the final product. The growing plant-based market driven by consumer demand requires manufacturers to equip themselves with the right processing tools and technology to produce tasty, healthy plant-based beverages in a safe and hygienic environment.
Recognising this need, we created a cutting-edge processing method for soy drinks. Last year, we made a breakthrough in our production methods which allows us to get the full benefits of the soyabean, boost the nutrition content, improve its taste, and increase protein presence.
Using the latest food processing technology, the result is reduced waste and more fiber and protein content in the beverage by mixing okara into the drink. Okara, known as the insoluble part of the soybean, is taken through multiple grinding processes to break it down to integrate it better with the beverage. The resulting product is versatile and high in fiber without affecting its flavour or texture.
A report shows that plant-centric agriculture can benefit the planet and the growing population. Today, about 42 percent of consumers believe there will be an increased likelihood that plant-based food will replace meat by 2032 as a measure to help curb environmental pressures and public health concerns.
As people search for food and beverage alternatives to improve their health and well-being and to be in control of their lifestyle choices, the plant-based drink market will continue to grow in the region. Factors that F&B manufacturers will need to consider are taste, nutritional value, pricing, and packaging to attract consumers. Those that can satisfy consumer needs will gain from their growing trend.
John has over 26 years of work experience with Tetra Pak in local, regional, and global roles across marketing, sales and product management. Currently leading the Marketing Function in Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia; John is responsible for the overall direction of Tetra Pak in the Philippines, providing strategic insights and leading expansion efforts. John was Tetra Pak’s Cluster Portfolio Manager from 2008 to 2010 and was based in Malaysia. During his tenure as portfolio manager, John supported the new packaging portfolio development for Southeast Asia and South Asia. He also ensured the smooth introduction of Tetra Pak’s new products and innovations to local markets. From 2005 to 2008, he was Tetra Pak’s Global Product Manager and was based in Lund, Sweden. As a global product manager, John was focused on the worldwide deployment of Minute Maid Tetra Wedge Aseptic. John graduated from De La Salle University with a degree in Marketing Management.