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World 13.02.2024

Coconut Milk Craze Sweeps Consumers, Driving Sales Surge

Source: The DairyNews
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In a tropical twist, consumers are flocking to coconut milk, propelling sales to new heights, with refrigerated and ready-to-drink (RTD) varieties witnessing a remarkable surge of 33% and 43%, respectively.
Coconut Milk Craze Sweeps Consumers, Driving Sales Surge
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According to Circana, a Chicago-based market research firm, this surge is part of a broader trend in the plant-based category.

Leading the charge in the refrigerated coconut milk subcategory is Silk, based in Broomfield, Colo., with a robust 33% year-over-year increase in dollar sales to $55 million. Remedy Organics and Califia Farms also experienced significant growth, showcasing the rising popularity of coconut milk.

The RTD coconut milk segment saw an even more significant success, with dollar sales soaring by 43% year-over-year to reach $271 million. Starbucks claimed the top spot in this subcategory, followed by Simply Asia Foods’ Thai Kitchen and RP Foods LLC’s Kuii.

Notably, coconut milk is not the only star in the plant-based milk category. Refrigerated oat milk also joined the "dollar sales, unit sales higher" club, experiencing a 9% year-over-year increase in dollar sales to $559 million. Chobani emerged as a big winner in this subcategory, with a remarkable 25% surge in dollar sales to $117 million.

Despite these individual successes, the overall plant-based category managed only a modest 0.5% increase in dollar sales for the year ending Dec. 3, reaching $2.4 billion. The weakness observed in refrigerated almond milk and refrigerated plant-based all other segments contributed to a slight decline in unit sales by 8% to 600 million.

Traditional milk faced small declines, with total dollar sales decreasing by 2% year-over-year to $15.4 billion. In the refrigerated white milk category, private label and Hood emerged as prominent players, with Hood experiencing a remarkable 14% year-over-year increase in sales to $1.1 billion.

Refrigerated flavored milk maintained stable dollar sales, down 0.1% to $1.7 billion, with Fairlife securing the second spot on the list with a 19% increase in sales to $176 million.

In the all-other-milk designation, refrigerated kefir continued to stand out with a 20% year-over-year increase in dollar sales to nearly $140 million. Lifeway Foods maintained its lead in this subcategory, with a 21% surge in dollar sales to $123 million.

The coconut milk craze, coupled with other plant-based alternatives, underscores a shifting consumer preference towards dairy alternatives, presenting both challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry.
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California
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Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
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February 2024
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