Coffee and milk have long been a match made in heaven, so it’s not surprising that the nation’s favourite beverages are those that are paired with milk, or a milk alternative.

According to Allegra Project Café 2021, four of the top five favoured beverages are milk based. Latte was the number one choice followed by the cappuccino, flat white, hot chocolate then the classic Americano – the only one that doesn’t always come with milk as standard, but even so can be ordered with milk.

Dairy-free, plant based mylk

But it’s not just a case of your standard cow’s milk. There has never been so much choice of milk alternatives than there is now. This is driven in-part by wider awareness of dairy intolerances, but also the huge increase in veganism. Not only that, there is also the perception that alternative milks can be healthier choices, which also contributes to this increase in popularity.

So, what are some dairy alternatives?

Nut Milk: Common varieties include almond and hazelnut. Usually made from blending nuts, adding water and straining.

Soya Milk: A natural by-product of tofu production, this is made similarly to nut milk but uses soy beans.

Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is the liquid from grated coconut flesh (rather than the liquid found inside the coconut, which is coconut water).

Oat Milk: Production of oat milk is like other plant milks, where cereal grains are ground, soaked in water and strained.

soy milk for coffee

Milk preferences: what’s trending?

Whist dairy milk remains the most popular choice (66.5% of respondents have dairy milk only), there is still a large market for those who choose plant based. 7.3% of respondents to the Allegra Project Café 2021 report only have non-dairy milks, while 20.5% switch between the two.

There are many choices for the plant-based mylk drinker these days, including mylk that has been created especially for baristas. These behave much more like dairy milk when it comes to creating milk texture and microfoam required for espresso-based drinks, allowing for an authentic coffee experience without the dairy.

So, what are the consumer favourites? The top four favourites are fairly close, but coconut is king. Coconut is favoured by 12% of respondents, closely followed by almond (10.4%), oat milk (9.6%), soya (9.4%) and hazelnut (2.5%).

Interestingly, alternative mylks are considerably more popular with women than men dairy milk among women than men (15.2% vs. 9.1%), as well as for under 35s (17.5% vs. 6.4% for 55s and over).

Boost your coffee offer with alternative mylk

The research has shown us that it’s incredibly important to offer a range of dairy and non-dairy mylk in order to meet diverse demand in this area. Alternative mylks are going from strength to strength and we can’t see these going anywhere any time soon. Plant mylks work equally well in iced or cold brew coffee, which again broadens the appeal and usage.

Read about our full range of dairy-free mylk in our Espresso Warehouse catalogue.

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