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Is the Plant-based Beverage Trend Fading?

If you read the news much, you might think that dairy is dying as consumers switch to plant-based beverages that call themselves ‘milk’.

The narrative for several years, according to Alan Bjerga, Senior Vice President at the National Milk Producers Federation, has been that sales of plant-based beverages are up, and milk drinking is down, but that’s changing.

“Plant-based beverages are down, in terms of consumption. Their volumes are down versus a year ago. This has been the case since at least February. This isn’t a flash in the pan.”

Which, Bjerga says was bound to happen.

“People just aren’t drinking these beverages like they have been in the past and when they are drinking more of one beverage, say oats for example, it’s coming at the expense of a different kind of plant-based beverage. They’re cannibalizing their own audience now. These are all the indications of a maturing market and that image of the scrappy upstart just no longer holds.”

Like other new products, Bjerga says they grow until the novelty wears off.

“We’re starting to see that in plant-based. That’s to be expected. It also should have been expected all along, but some people bought into the marketing hype. The ceiling of these beverages was never going to be anywhere near that of true milk, you know, that is made from dairy.”

Bjerga says news of the declining plant-based beverage sales should be reported just as forcefully as the distortion used to malign dairy.