Move over oat milk, potato milk is on the march

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Brand-building specialists Bob Bayman, Danielle Horsley and Katy Cheung, who study consumer trends, share their knowledge of product introductions and feedback.

IN recent years, we have all seen major changes in the world of dairy as a result of health and environmental concerns. One of the biggest changes is the shift away from dairy milk to dairy alternatives. In 2020, the total consumption of milk substitutes in the UK increased by 40.4% from the previous year, a new record high. The rising consumption has brought alternative dairy brands to the forefront, the most notable being Oatly and oat milk which, according to a 2021 Mintel report, has quickly become the plant-based milk of choice for British consumers.

However, oats’ popularity has not stopped potatoes from joining the alternative milk scene.

 

DUG Potato Milk

DUG has been making waves in February when they made it onto Waitrose’s shelves (it is worth noting that Waitrose included potato milk in their annual Food and Drink report 2021 as a trend to watch out for in 2022). The Swedish-brand was actually launched some time before but it’s recent appearance on supermarket shelves has sparked new conversations, with some seeing this new milk as a “crime against potatoes” and others, “the new oat milk”.

The question is: Would consumers want another alternative? And why would it be potato?

While there’s undoubtedly still room for growth in the dairy-alternatives market, there is also an abundance of competition from smaller, independent brands to bigger companies like Nestlé and Arla. Consequently, brands have to work a lot harder to stand out – potato milk being the latest dairy alternative gives it the bonus of being novel and interesting to the UK consumer.

But what happens once everyone’s tried it?

For consumers, some of the most important qualities of dairy alternative products are taste, versatility, price and sustainability. And it seems the latter of the four is what might give potato milk the edge.

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Potato Milk and Sustainability

DUG has suggested that potato milk is more sustainable than not only dairy but the currently available alternatives. For example, the brand has claimed the following:

•             Its potato milk has a 75% lower climate footprint than dairy milk.

•             Land use for potato growth is twice as efficient as growing oats.

•             56 times less water is needed to grow potatoes compared to almonds.

Just a few months ago, we spoke with one of the most senior buyers at Waitrose and they told us that the aim towards Carbon Zero will be the single biggest drivers of key decisions over the next few years. So, it will be the brands who manage to deliver taste, appeal and sustainability at a price that consumers are prepared to pay that will rise to top.

 

Each month our 'Consumer Insights' feature examines potato products and impacts from the top of the supply chain. To read our panel's future insights, subscribe to Potato Review here.