Merlo discusses rise in demand for dairy alternatives

The Alternative Dairy Co.

Brisbane-based coffee roaster Merlo Coffee says global demand for dairy alternatives is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 11 per cent between now and 2031.

The steady growth is being attributed to the increasing shift toward veganism, surges in cases of lactose intolerance, and a renewed focus on health and the environment.

“It is timely that we are discussing this on World Plant Milk Day [August 22]. Obviously as a coffee business, we cater to all tastes, but since January our team has seen a solid increase in the number of customers opting for plant-based alternatives,” says Merlo Coffee General Manager David Holt.

David says this is a huge revenue driver for the milk substitute market in Australia, with indications suggesting that by 2026 it will generate about $550 million.

“It has definitely planted its feet firmly on the coffee market, and we source our non-dairy milks from the Alternative Dairy Company, they’re specifically crafted for baristas and produce a creamy coffee every time,” David says.

“At Merlo almond and oat milk have proven to be the most popular alternative choices, with oat quickly surpassing soy in preference.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australians are now drinking about half a metric cup of milk alternatives per person a week.

“We have plenty of regular customers who visit us at our Merlo stores every day and we are so glad to have remained such a big part of their lives. Their loyalty, even during Covid, is not lost on us, we will always do what we can to keep them happy,” says David.

The ABS noted in its March report that almond milk had a particularly rapid increase in apparent consumption, up 31 per cent in the past two years, while soy milk increased by 16 per cent.

According to Merlo, IBISWorld estimates that Australian revenue of the soy and almond milk industry will increase by $432.6 million this year alone.

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