Not milking it: Comax study highlights consumer behavior towards non-dairy

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09 Feb 2018 --- Comax Flavors has released new primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage and attitudes towards Non-Dairy products, which focused on non-dairy milk, non-dairy creamer, non-dairy yogurt and non-dairy frozen dessert.

This is the sixth study of the company’s primary market research program. The Non-Dairy study was fielded in July 2017 with 1,000 US respondents aged 18-70+; half were female and the other half were male.


According to research firm Global Data, 6 percent of US consumers claim to be vegan, up from 1 percent in 2014, while an estimated 3.3 percent of adults in the US identify themselves as being vegetarian, according to a 2016 Harris Poll commissioned by The Vegetarian Resource.


Click to Enlarge“There has been a shift in consumers’ attitudes and behavior with vegetarianism, veganism, rawism and flexitarianism on the rise. We see a growing interest in plant-based products in a variety of non-dairy applications including milk, creamer, yogurt and frozen dessert. We wanted to better understand what’s happening in the non-dairy segment among the general population,” states Catherine Armstrong, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Comax Flavors.


Non-Dairy Milk Findings Among respondents who consume “Non-Dairy Milk” N=250:

  • The “ingredient source” is the most important attribute driving purchase intent with half of respondents citing it.
  • 86 percent of respondents’ drink “Almond” milk while 41 percent consume “Soy” milk compared to 38 percent who prefer “Coconut” milk.
  • ”Vanilla” is the number one flavor consumed by all generations with almost two-thirds citing it (62 percent).
  • A third or more of respondents consume “Unflavored” (38 percent) and “Unsweetened” (33 percent) non-dairy milks.
  • More than half of respondents (54 percent) mix non-dairy milk with other products while almost half (46 percent) drink it alone.
  • 65 percent use non-dairy milk in “Beverages” while 42 percent use it in “Sweet Preparations” and 13 percent use it in “Savory Preparations.”

Non-Dairy Yogurt Findings Among respondents who consume “Non-Dairy Yogurt” N=250:Click to Enlarge

45 percent of respondents cite “Health Benefits” as the number one attribute they make their non-dairy yogurt purchase on.

  • ”Almond” milk yogurt (64 percent) is the most popular ingredient source followed by “Coconut” milk yogurt (54 percent).
  • ”Berry” (69 percent) is the number one universally consumed flavor by all generations.
  • 57 percent of respondents consume “Tropical” flavors while 56 percent consume “Vanilla.”
  • 19 percent of respondents consume “Vegetable” flavors.
  • 43 percent of respondents flavor their non-dairy yogurt compared to 57 percent who do not.
  • 47 percent of respondents use non-dairy yogurt in place of non-dairy mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, crème fraiche and/or oil compared to 53 percent who do not.
  • 46 percent of respondents use non-dairy yogurt in “Beverages,” 36 percent use it in “Sweet Preparations” while 26 percent use it in “Dips and Dressings” and 17 percent use it in “Savory Preparations.”

Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Findings - Among respondents who consume “Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert” N=250:

  • "Flavor” is the number one driver of non-dairy frozen dessert purchases with 46 percent of respondents citing it as the most important attribute.
  • "Almond” milk is most popular non-dairy frozen dessert base with 68 percent of respondents citing it followed by “Coconut” milk with 62 percent citing it.
  • "Cashew” and “Rice” non-dairy frozen dessert bases are gaining popularity with 38 percent of respondents citing both equally.
  • 60 percent of respondents consume “Chocolate,” making it the most popular flavor consumed by all generations.
  • More than half of respondents consume “Vanilla” (54 percent) and “Fruit” flavors (51 percent).
  • 42 percent of respondents equally consume “Coffee” and “Nut” flavors.
  • Shy of a third of respondents (32 percent) consume “Indulgent” flavors.
  • ”Mint” flavors are consumed by a quarter of respondents (26 percent).