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Alternative milk… Is it just a quirky trend for hipsters?

Most days I’ll pop into my local coffee shop to order my ‘oat-flat white’ and a ‘chai-soy latte’ for my cousin (yes… we are those people). While, admittedly, I live in the hipster-central part of London, the popularity of alternative milk has not just been on the rise in my area, but across the UK and the US. In 2019, 1 in 10 Pret a Manger’s (UK) hot drinks were ordered with dairy alternative milks.

While I initially got hooked on oat milk for the taste and the health benefits, we are seeing more and more evidence of how unsustainable animal products are and it seems as though more and more people are making the switch!

When analysing the conversation around alternative milk we are able to see people quoting a multitude of reasons for making the switch; everything from the ‘delicious taste’ to how wonderfully ‘healthy’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘cruelty-free’ alternative milk is.

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To understand the conversation in more detail our friends at Pulsar used their social listening capabilities to find out what people were talking about when it comes to alternative milk. Like myself, most people valued the taste as one of the most important reasons for drinking alternative milk ( as well as protein 💪🏽). They also showed that values such as sustainability and ethical concerns around the production of cow milk were key concerns for shying away from it. While these reasons may seem unsurprising, Pulsar’s data-driven approach explores the content in more depth. Want to know which brands are the most popular for alt-milk consumers? Or want to know what meal people consume their alternative milk at? Check out the full report.

This report goes further than just understanding the reasons why people opt for alternative milk and the content surrounding this conversation. Using Pulsar Communities + Audiense we are able to understand not just the conversation but the people behind the conversation. Is it just the hipsters drinking alternative milk that has caused the consumption of alternative milk to become increasingly popular? Or is the alternative milk consumer far more nuanced? As marketers and brand strategists working in this industry, do we need to look beyond the traditional ideas of targeting ‘vegans’ and ‘health nuts’ and start working on strategies that are in line with a different type of consumer… (hint… did you know some gamers enjoyed and engaged with the conversation around alternative milk?). Check out the full report.

Decoding the Alternative Milk Audience - Access Report