7 Grab-and-Go Plant-Based and Dairy Milks With Potential

Dairy milk has been getting a bona fide challenge from plant-based options the past few years. However, the standard milk segment hasn’t yet lost the battle to plant alternatives—thanks to the performance of flavored and whole milk, according to new research from Mintel.

While plant-based, nondairy alternatives are finding their rightful place in more home refrigerators, dairy milk has a few distinct advantages that manufacturers are emphasizing to retain consumers within the category and keep dollar sales afloat, according to Mintel.

Flavored milk is the fastest growing segment in the standard milk camp, with $1.74 billion in sales and an 18% volume increase since 2012, according to the research. And, flavored is not just a milk segment intended for children; 76% of adults who buy it for their kids indicate they also consume it.

Whole milk sales are up 8% since 2012 but skim/low-fat milk saw a 28% decline over that period—not unlike full-fat yogurt, which has also out performed low-fat segment options.   

Plant-based milk has grown 61% in the aggregate since 2012, according to Mintel. Almond (64% share), soy (13%) and coconut (12%) milk lead the way, while up-and-comers such as pecan, quinoa, cashew and rice are all gaining. Megan Hambleton, Mintel analyst who authored the report, said rice milk is at least one of those four that has a chance to eventually exceed soy in dollar share if the upward trajectory continues unabated.   

Click through to view seven dairy and plant-based milk products ideal for the c-store.         


Fairlife added SuperKids Ultra-Filtered Milk and SuperKids Chocolate Ultra-Filtered Milk to its line of lactose-free and protein- and calcium-rich beverages. The milk contains 125 milligrams of DHA omega-3 per serving, 12 grams of protein and 35% of daily calcium value.


On the organic dairy side, Horizon’s aseptic quarts of organic milk lock in taste and extend the milk’s shelf life to 60 days—double that of conventionally-packaged, ultra-pasteurized half-gallon milk, according to the company. The smaller size offers a lower shelf price and is available in Whole Milk, Reduced Fat Milk and Chocolate Lowfat Milk.


Ultimate Almond Original from Dream (Hain Celestial Group) is a premium, nondairy and plant-based beverage made with more nuts for a rich, homemade taste. Crafted with simple, wholesome ingredients, Ultimate Almond contains four times more almonds than other almond beverages and provides 5 grams of plant-based protein in every serving, according to the company. Made with real California almonds, the beverage is available in shelf-stable and refrigerated formats.


Silk Almondmilk Single Serve makes it simple for operators to offer their customers high-quality, dairy-alternative beverages, according to the company. It is free of dairy, soy, lactose and gluten, and comes in Unsweetened Vanilla and Dark Chocolate. The aseptic package provides a guaranteed shelf life of 90 days.

Califia Farms

All-natural, USDA-certified organic nut milks from Califia Farms are made with just four ingredients: organic nuts, water, oat fiber and a dash of sea salt. The nut milks come in almond, cashew and coconut. They are vegan, dairy-free, GMO-free, soy-free, carrageenan-free and gluten-free. 

Bolthouse Farms

The Blueberry Banana Almondmilk Smoothie blends plump blueberries and sweet bananas into a creamy base of almond milk. Dairy-free with 2 grams of fat and 110 calories, the Blueberry Banana Almondmilk Smoothie is available in 15.2- and 32-ounce bottles. Other varieties include Blue Goodness, Peach Parfait and Strawberry Parfait.


Nesquik Protein Plus flavored milk is packed with 13 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving. The variety is made with 28% less sugar than the leading protein-enhanced flavored milk, according to the company. It contains no artificial sweeteners. Similar to all Nesquik ready-to-drink (RTD) products, it’s made with real milk. The variety comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors in 14-ounce RTD sizes.