Geographic alternative milk trends & discussion

I’m interested in the common alternative milk scene in other countries apart from mine, UK.

In the UK we were predominately soya milk but the demand for oat milk has exploded in the last 2 years. Our shop now does about 6x more Oat milk than Soya milk, and lots of non-vegans are opting for it out of taste. The demand in the UK is also so high that distributors are struggling to keep up, with shortages becoming an issue for a lot of consumers and shops alike - from Oatly, who do a popular barista edition that lots of shops use.

I’ve noticed loads of places don’t even know what oat milk is - from what I hear its almost non-existent in the US and rare in most other countries.

I’d say in the speciality arena currently in the UK that Oat is the most popular alternative milk (with Starbucks etc. just catching up) and soya milk falling to second place. We also have some demand for coconut milk (as some of the chains start to push it and its filtered down) and almond milk is still an option at a lot of places, but recently lots of places have been dropping it for Oat.

I think its interesting, and I would like your thoughts on:

A. The demand for alternative milks is growing so fast - partly related to more people choosing a vegan diet or avoiding dairy, or people like the taste of plant based milks. Have you noticed this?

B. The demand for soya is falling fast, in an industry that is growing quickly (in the UK at least). I would be interested to know how brands like Bonsoy are dealing with this change in trends as they must be selling a lot fewer units of soya milk into the UK market in the last year. Does anyone else think about what’s happening to the existing brands?

C. In terms of future demand for alternative milks, what are you seeing, and where is the industry going?

D. Geographically, and in the speciality/third wave scene, what alternative milks are currently being served/requested (outside the UK).


Hi There-
We have a shop on an Ivy League University campus in the NE US, so our primary customer group is relatively affluent young people between the ages of 18-21, most of whom are highly hyper-aware of the latest trends.
We have noticed that there is a huge switch in demand as well. It used to be Soy was the leader, a few years ago it seemed that everyone wanted Almond milk, that demand plummeted, now, like you, it’s Oatly as king. We make our own chocolate ganache for Mochas, and try to be careful about informing customers who order alternative-milk-based drinks, that our Oat milk Mocha will have dairy in it, but it seems like most don’t care. It’s not just for Vegans,
I’m not sure what to attribute the reasoning behind the trends, but I’m sure it’s all driven by advertising and social media.
They drink what their friends drink.

I’m a home barista so have different needs but being intolerant to dairy I’m pretty interested in the alternatives out there. I live in Vermont and either oat milk just showed up in a local health food store, or I just noticed it, because of your post a while back. I purchased a quart of an oat milk product for over five dollars and was completely un-impressed, and seeing as oats are about the cheapest grain around, the price seemed outrageous. I did notice when I was in the same store a couple of days ago that they have the Oatly product for $5 for a half gallon. That price makes a bit more sense but it isn’t the barista version. I see the barista version is on Amazon for about $10 for 32oz., again an outrageous price. So I’m curious how much you pay for it in the UK.

Thanks! Kor