Looking For Innovation Inspiration? Start With Plant-Based Milks

As the plant-based diet becomes more and more popular with the health-conscious consumer, there is about to be an even bigger market for innovative brands in traditionally animal-based products. We’re already seeing it happen. Just a few months ago, we talked about all of the new kinds of milk that are revolutionizing the dairy industry and our coffee beverages, but now we’re seeing these new plant-based milks also catapulted innovation in other everyday items like ice cream and cheese. How did this happen and what does this mean for brands outside of the dairy space? Fancy Food West gave us a sneak peek.

At this point,  we all know about almond, soy, and coconut milk, but now those are starting to feel like the old standards. Oat milk, peanut milk, macadamia milk, and even hemp milk are starting to break through. Milkadamia, milk made of macadamia nuts, is made on farms committed to regenerative farming in Australia. You can try it on Amazon, Fresh Direct, or Jet. OatMG is releasing new oat milk that is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to nut milk, which is notoriously bad for the environment. And finally, hemp milk, like Tempt Hemp, is coming onto the scene after the federal government legalized all hemp products at the end of 2018. Some of these brands are even starting to make cheese with the new plant-based milk. Oatly introduced an Oat Spread, that they described as not made of cheese, but spreadable like cheese and good on a bagel. Other products like smoky cashew “cheese” are also in development. While there have been cheeses made of nuts before, these brands are now pushing them to mainstream consumers.

Ice cream brands are following the plant-based trend and innovating with new milk bases and flavors. LA Creamery is introducing a new vegan “Minty Chocolate Munchies” ice cream that is made with hemp milk. Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream has been making mochi since in 1985 in Hawaii, and now 24 years later they are switching up their recipes to make vegan-friendly mochi. McConnell’s announced the launch of its plant-based line, which uses a pea protein blend instead of milk, making the product lower in fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Keto Pint is a low-carb, high-fat, no-sugar-added ice cream for a ketogenic (high fat, low carb) diet. This brand actually got their funding from more than 1,400 people on Kickstarter to raise $80,400 to create the first flavors.

To keep up, other ice cream brands, like one of my favorites Jeni’s, are using still using traditional milk and cream, but introducing gourmet flavors like Brandied Banana Brulee, Pistachio & Honey, and Middle West Whiskey & Pecans Pint. These flavors attract the good ingredient-conscious consumers that still love ice cream that tastes like ice cream. Just upgraded to keep up with their more sophisticated pallet.

If innovation in milk forged a path forward for innovation in cheese and ice cream, what does this mean for other industries? What could be the catalyst for innovation the meat industry or the frozen fish industry? Could your brand be the spark that revolutionizes one of these industries?

Need a little help figuring out how to get your innovative brand to break out? Let’s talk.

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