The rise of cow-free milk, and Israel's presence in the emerging field
The dairy alternatives market, an estimated value of $22.6B as of 2020, is projected to reach $40.6B by 2026. This valuation stems from 75% of the world's adult population being lactose intolerant and consumers becoming more health conscious. Made of almonds, rice, hemp, soy, oats, coconut, etc., dairy alternatives have traditionally been considered healthy products. Aside from being lactose-free, they typically have lower fat content and low cholesterol compared to cow's milk.
The map below documents the crowded market for alternative dairy.
Why are companies competing in this space? Traditional cow's milk is unsustainable, more environmentally damaging than dairy alternatives and requires a lot of water and land.
Given that there are approximately 270 million dairy cows worldwide, milk production has a large environmental impact, the scale of impact depending on the existence and practices at dairy farms.
Dairy cows produce greenhouse gas emissions, poor treatment of fertilizers and manure leads to degradation of water sources, and feed production contributes to loss of lands like forests, wetlands, and prairies. In 2017, U.S. cow’s milk consumption was 49 billion pounds, but production was 215 billion pounds. At the same time, the U.S. milk consumption has dropped 40% since 1975 and this trend is accelerating as consumers reach for oat, almond, and soy milk.
The Department of Agriculture reported a decline of 20,000 dairy farms, a decline of 30%, in the past decade.
However, cow's milk is still the most cost-effective solution. Almond and soy milk drive the plant-based milk market, but they come with a steep price tag over regular milk. Almond and soy milk cost almost double the pric