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Oatmilk ascends in the US as operators embrace dairy alternatives

World Coffee Portal’s Project Café USA 2023 report highlights growing consumer appetite for oatmilk in the US as operators and manufacturers across the country increase investment in dairy alternatives

In June 2022 Blue Bottle Coffee made oatmilk the default beverage pairing across its 73 US stores | Photo credit: Oatly


Oatmilk continues to grow in popularity among US consumers, with the number of customers surveyed choosing it as their preferred beverage accompaniment increasing nearly 7% since 2020.  

Although more US consumers surveyed still prefer almond milk to accompany their coffee purchase, with 28% regularly ordering it as their favoured plant-based milk alternative, operators appear keen to capitalise on the notable growth of oatmilk consumption. 

Swedish alt-milk brand Oatly plans to significantly increase oatmilk production in the US with a new 280,000 square-foot production site in Texas slated to open in 2023. The site is the third production facility for the company in North America, and one of nine facilities the Malmö-based company will open globally by the end of next year.      

Meanwhile Danone Manifesto Ventures invested in London-based oatmilk and ready-to-drink coffee brand Minor Figures in June 2022. The brand, which launched in the US in 2019, said that the backing would enable it to strengthen its position across US retail stores and cafés.    

Half of US industry leaders surveyed believe dairy-free to be the health-based trend with the most longevity, consistent with the promotion of milk alternatives by leading coffee chains across the country.    

In June 2022 boutique coffee chain Blue Bottle Coffee made oatmilk the default beverage pairing across its 73 US stores, while several convenience chains, including 7-Eleven, Circle K, ExtraMile and Speedway, have introduced Danone’s Silk oatmilk portion control creamers to stores following increased demand.    

Stumptown Coffee Roasters first partnered with Oatly in 2018 and agreed to hold flat pricing across all milk-based drinks in its stores. The company, which says that 75% of its café customers order lattes with plant-based milks, undertook a new collaboration with Oatly in April 2022 to serve its first ever ‘Earth Day Latte'.    

In 2021, Peet’s Coffee became the first US coffee chain to sell a complete breakfast sandwich with vegan sausage, eggs and cheese. Its Spring 2022 coffee menu was exclusively dedicated to vegan and dairy-free items, headlined by beverages designed to highlight oat and almond dairy alternatives.    

However, despite the popularity of milk alternatives, dairy remains the leading beverage accompaniment with nearly half of consumers requesting whole milk with their order.

World Coffee Portal’s Project Café USA 2023 report reveals that the $45.8bn branded US coffee shop market has now regained 96% of its pre-pandemic value. 
To enquire about the report contact Quoc Le qle@allegra.co.uk

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