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MARKET OVERVIEW

1.1 Introduction and market definition

Vegetable (or plant) milk is a drink that is visually very similar to traditional milk, but often has a different taste and texture. This is linked to its production method, which is mainly based on the processing of plants, including:

  • Oleaginous (almonds, hazelnuts...);
  • Pulses (soybean...);
  • Cereals (wheat, rice...).

There are several reasons for consuming vegetable milk: its impact on the health of consumers is limited, especially for people with lactose intolerance, and it fits perfectly into diets such as veganism.

Boosted by an ever-increasing number of consumers, the vegetable milk market has been experiencing particularly strong growth for the past ten years or so, although it remains concentrated in the hands of a few players (Bjorg, Alpro, Bonnaterre).

However, the latter must continue to adapt to consumer trends, which can put certain players in difficulty (like Lima), and to innovate in order to develop products to address smaller consumers who are more sensitive to the nutritional quality of the products they buy. Moreover, the product offering is continously becoming more saturated which makes it more difficult for players to position themselves in a spot where sales are predictable. 

1.2 The fast-growing global market

The global vegetable milk market is particularly dynamic, with sales growth expected to average **.*% each year between **** and ****. This would represent a market of $**.* billion by ****, compared to $**.* billion in ****. [***]

Evolution of the size of the plant milk market World, ****-****, $US billion CAGR : +**;*% Source: ****

Growth is expected to be relatively ...

1.3 The domestic market signals strength

The growth of the plant milk market is greater in France than it is worldwide. Between **** and ****, the average annual growth of the market was **.*%, reaching a turnover of *** million euros in ****. [***] 

  Evolution of the size of the plant milk market France, ****-****, in € million CAGR : +**,*Source : LSA Conso   

This ...

1.4 France stands out as an exporting country

A large part of French production is intended for export abroad. In ****, France exported just under *** million plant-based milk products worth **.* million euros. [***]

However, imports, which come mainly from Italy (***) of ***.*%. Indeed, France exports more than it imports. 

Amounts of plant milk trade flows France, ****-****, in € million Source: ****

The countries ...

DEMAND ANALYSIS

2.1 Demand for alternative milk consumption is growing stronger

Alternative milks represent increasingly serious competition for cow's milk, whose penetration rate in the French population is on a steady (***).  [***]

The main types of alternative milk are vegetable milk, goat and sheep milk, and organic milk. The latter accounts for half of the alternative milk sales by volume, as can be ...

2.2 Consumption of vegetable milk

Among plant milk consumers, breakfast is the preferred time to drink (***). [***]

Preferred time of consumption of milk of animal and vegetable origin France, ****, in % Source: ****

Consumers also consider vegetable milks as having qualities equivalent to those of milk. This substitutability is particularly interesting for people with lactose intolerance (***).

There is, however, ...

2.3 The organic trend is gaining ground

Since the early ****s, the consumption habits of the French have changed profoundly. Awareness of environmental issues has encouraged a significant proportion of the population to adopt a more responsible and "greener" consumption pattern.

Thus, in ****, about **% of French people said they had adopted a consumption pattern designed to avoid waste, ...

MARKET STRUCTURE

3.1 The shared market between private labels and two brands

The vegetable milk market is particularly concentrated, with two brands accounting for nearly **% of sales, with Bjorg alone accounting for **%. [***]

However, Bjorg and Alpro have to face competition from private labels, which account for **% of market sales, in particular thanks to a less expensive positioning, which allows them to make "affordable ...

3.2 A long production process

The production process for the different vegetable milks varies little, regardless of the raw material used. After a soaking phase that softens the ingredients used, a grinding phase allows the different elements to be crushed into small grains. [***]

The solids are then separated from the liquid. The latter goes through a ...

3.3 A distribution which is mainly done in supermarkets and hypermarkets

There is no data specific to vegetable milks, but it is possible to give an overview of the importance of each segment using organic milk data. For example, supermarkets and Hard Discount stores account for **% of sales, a share equivalent to their share in the sale of marketable products. [***]

  Breakdown ...

ANALYSIS OF THE OFFER

4.1 Typology of vegetable milk supply

Vegetable milk production makes it possible to produce several types of products, generally sold under different ranges by the brands. These product types are vegetable juice (***), cream and ultra-fresh products.

For example, Bjorg offers a Calcium range, composed of vegetable juices (***). [***]

Alpro offers a wider range of alternative products than Bjorg, ...

4.2 Consumers willing to pay higher prices

The prices recorded for milk-based products of vegetable origin are systematically higher than those for milk-based products of animal origin. The difference is greatest for milk, with the price per kilo of vegetable milk *.** times higher on average than for animal milk. [***]

Average price of animal and plant-based milk products France, ...

4.3 Diversification of vegetable milks

One of the major challenges for plant milks is to succeed in diversifying products to develop the consumer base. The supply is still very limited today and concentrated on a few products (***).

While the sugar-free segment grew by only *.*% in ****, the AB-labelled coconut milk segment and the almond and oat segment ...

4.4 The development of vegetable milks with protein

Several scientific groups are now trying to develop laboratory-bred proteins, usually found in cow's milk (***). This method of production, which would be based on the use of yeast and probably a fermentation process, would allow vegetable milk to have the same nutritional intake as traditional milk, without the disadvantages. [***]

Perfect Day, ...

REGULATION

5.1 Prohibition of the use of the word "milk"

Since ****, manufacturers of vegetable milk have been forced to change the names they used to designate their products. A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has restricted the use of the name "milk" for commercial and advertising purposes to milk of animal origin only. [***]

This prohibition imposed ...

POSITIONING OF THE PLAYERS

6.1 Segmentation

*group

  • Danone
  • Bjorg
  • Soy
  • Alpro
  • Sodiaal

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Hugo S.

chargé d'études économiques, Xerfi

Hugo S.

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Mathieu L.

Associate Consultant

Mathieu L.

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Robin C.

PhD Industrial transformations

Robin C.

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Pierre D.

Analyst

Pierre D.

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Ross Alumni Club France

Arnaud W.

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Analyste de marché chez Businesscoot

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Maelle V.

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Héloise F.

Etudiante en Double-Diplôme Ingénieur-Manager Centrale

Héloise F.

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Imane E.

EDHEC

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Market Research Analyst @Businesscoot

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Market Research Analyst @Businesscoot

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Consultant

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Alexia V.

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Emil O.

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Anna O.

Anna O.

Gabriel S.

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