It may not seem like it, but we’ve been waiting for the dairy-free industry to become friends with the dairy industry for what seems like forever now. We know what you’re thinking, competitors can’t exactly be best pals. And, let’s be clear, there are a definitely lot of things we don’t like about dairy’s style. Whether it’s the massive strain on the environment and its resources (hog much?), the rampant use of antibiotics and hormones, or the fact that they don’t, you know, let cows relax, there are definitely a lot of reasons these two industries should stay separate.

However, despite all of this, it looks like the dairy industry has finally realized how awesome the dairy-free industry is (it’s about time) and is ready to join in on the fun! That’s right, according to predictions from consulting and market research company, Frost and Sullivan, we’ll be seeing new dairy-free products from the dairy industry any day now!

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Yup, you heard that right. The dairy industry, who hasn’t changed their ways for decades, will finally be trying something new. You know what they say: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And boy, it’s never been a better time to join the dairy-free party. For one, dairy industry sales are not doing too hot. Consumption of dairy has also been declining in general and this year the price of milk dropped to a new low. Alternatively, the dairy-free industry has never been better! There are new products coming out every month, celebrities have started endorsing the stuff, and oh yeah, the market has grown 200 percent in just the past five years. Plus, just recently, Danone, a major food company paid $12.5 billion to acquire WhiteWave Foods and stated that one of the main motivators was to acquire some of WhiteWave’s huge dairy-free brands, like Silk and So Delicious! Pretty smart move, we’d say, considering WhiteWave Foods experienced a 15 percent compound annual growth in just their plant-based dairy alternative category.

Danone is the perfect example of how these two categories will be melding together. While Danone’s consumers are familiar with dairy products, WhiteWave’s customers tend to be vegetarians and vegans, according to Frost and Sullivan. Still, Danone has chosen to acquire the company to take WhiteWave’s plant-based category and expand it towards new horizons.

“…We are only scratching the surface because putting these two companies together, our global dairy fermentation technology know-how and the leading plant-based ferment technology of WhiteWave, we are actually going to create a situation where we are going to have the broadest diversity in fermented protein and textured products together, which is combining the incredible strengths of WhiteWave and our strengths to drive this alimentation revolution further,” shared Emmanuel Faber, chief executive officer of Danone. Looks like we’ll be seeing some new and exciting products coming from Danone pretty soon!

Considering all of this growth in the category, it’s no surprise that Frost and Sullivan predict that very soon the dairy industry will dip into the plant-based industry to “offset their flat liquid-milk sales.” While there haven’t been any statements from the dairy industry specifically announcing dairy-free plans, we hope that this marketing consultants predictions are correct. Goodness knows, we’d welcome them with open arms!

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