Dairy is big business in Canada. Euromonitor International puts its 2022 value at $3.2 billion (including flavoured milk drinks and powdered milk); by contrast, milks from soy, oat, almond, cashew, and other nuts and plants are only valued at $510.2 million. But according to Canadian Grocer, that is set to change.
Plant-based milk increased more than 35% between 2017 and 2022, and is expected to be worth $600.8 million by 2027. By contrast, the dairy market is expected to retract by almost 19% between now and 2027, although it will still be a very valuable $2.6 billion.
It’s oat milk that seems to get the bulk of attention – it’s more nutritious (loaded with fibre, iron, calcium, and vitamin D), requires less water, and produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also creamy, making it an ideal dairy substitute in a morning coffee. Oat milk’s explosion may have a knock-on benefit for Canada – it is the world’s largest exporter of oats, with 2020’s export sales valued at $465 million. About 90% of the country’s oat production comes from the prairie provinces, and the Government of Canada recently allocated $106,000 to the Prairie Oat Growers Association to fund research trials on the health benefit of oats.
Microfiltered milks are also gaining market share in Canada; A2 Milk (which research shows is easier to digest than conventional milk) can now be found in 1,200 stores across the country.
U.S. companies producing milk alternatives may find receptive customers in the Canadian market, and should contact their state export partner for more information.