Germany’s biggest dairy co-op, DMK Group, is expanding its Milram range to include oat-based desserts and drinks.
DMK’s new vegan products will include oat-based vanilla, chocolate and rice puddings, as well as an oat-based version of DMK’s existing Milram Kakao chocolate milk drink.
This follows the co-op’s announcement last year that it is developing vegan cheese products, in response to increased consumer demand for plant-based protein.
According to Gfk Consumer Scan, the buyer base of plant-based milk alternatives has seen double-digit growth since 2017, and DMK’s own research found that 40.3% of Milram customers already buy milk alternatives, which is higher than the German average of 34.7%. Research also found that while most consumers surveyed preferred oats as the base for dairy alternatives, most products are still soy based, highlighting a gap in the market.
“As a company, we also see advantages for ourselves in this development, because as a dairy co-operative we have in-depth know-how and now have the opportunity to also participate in this market with our own products,” said Ingo Müller, CEO of DMK Group.
“Today, it is no longer simply about imitating animal products, but about tasty, healthy and varied concepts. Even if milk alternatives currently still account for 7% of sales on the white line, the topic is an unstoppable trend and, as one of the largest suppliers to the German retail sector, we want to help shape this development.”
One of Germany’s largest dairy producers, DMK processes around 6.6 billion kilos of milk annually across more than 20 sites.
Mr Müller states that while the development of plant-based products is required in order to remain competitive, milk remains their core business: “After all, DMK doesn’t have milk in its name for nothing. The average consumer of DMK products does not eat a purely vegan diet, but they are part of the large mass of nutrition-conscious people who integrate plant-based alternative products as an additive in their everyday lives.”
“For us, it is therefore a matter of creating an overall portfolio that offers different consumer groups products that fit their respective eating habits and accompany them in everyday life.”