New Data Shows Oat Milk Is Skyrocketing To The Top Of The Industry

Watch out, almond milk; oat milk is coming for you — one blender pulse at a time.

Although almond milk has long been hailed as the essential non-dairy milk substitute, oat milk is rapidly on the rise. Forging its own path in the alternative dairy realm, oat milk consists of some combination of oats and water, as well as whatever a brand may choose to add. Many companies, from Oatly to Silk, have come out with a respective take on the milk. Shoppers now have their choice of oat milks that range from coffee creamers to vanilla-flavored iterations. You can even make your own version at home; simply blend oats, as well as fat via a neutral oil, with water and your choice of sweetener.

Yet to truly assess the popularity of oat milk, look beyond the shelves. The proof is in the pudding — oftentimes literally. Oat milk has become a mainstay milk substitute, as well as more common on coffee shop counters, in restaurant kitchens, and throughout at-home refrigerators. As a burgeoning household product, oat milk has clearly made its mark.

Outside of cups, however, the finances speak for themselves.

Oat milk contributed to the year-to-year increase in non-dairy milk sales

According to a recent SPINS report from Food Navigator-USA, oat milk spearheaded the increase in the United States' annual non-dairy milk sales. As of June 12, 2022, plant-based milk sales increased by 6.4% over 52 weeks. Oat milk — as well as pea milk — saw significant year-to-year increases, largely contributing to this overall trend. According to the data, oat milk rose 50.52%, amounting to a whopping $527.44 million. In fact, oat milk ranked as the second most popular plant-based milk.

Meanwhile, almond milk sales saw a slight decline of 1.02% within the same time frame. One contributing factor to this decrease may be the pushback against almond milk production: a water-intensive process. According to the BBC, almond milk production requires more water than oat milk. Similarly, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and cashew milk confronted declining sales.

Despite its nominal decrease, almond milk continued to top the plant-based market's financials. The non-dairy frontrunner earned $1.277 billion within the year. This number largely contributed to total plant-based milk sales, which equated to $2.299 billion. 

So the next time you purchase a carton of plant-based milk, know that you're adding to the tally of oat versus almond. Raise a glass — and gauge how oat milk may stack up long-term.