In 2019, lactose-free milk sales grew twice as fast as plant-based beverages, with lactose-free poised to surpass almond-beverage sales this year.
The National Milk Producers Federation says lactose-free milk is a prime example of how dairy is addressing per-capita drops in fluid-milk consumption. Dairy categories increasing their sales, including whole milk, lactose-free milk and flavored varieties, are giving plenty of reason for optimism about the future of milk.
The organization does note plant-based beverage growth, but “from a tiny base.” Almonds, with about three-quarters of sales, drive the plant-based beverage category. And almond-beverage sales are growing, although not as fast as lactose-free milk.
Among plant-based beverages that aren’t almonds, soy is number two. But soy is declining, in 2018, by more than 13 percent from $248 million to $215 million, a percentage drop much greater than any sales decline in dairy. Meanwhile, Americans bought $13.88 billion of milk in 2019, down from $13.93 billion.