The plant-based milk alternative category has exploded in recent years. Globally, the dairy alternatives market was valued at $22.6bn in 2020 and is expected to reach $40.6bn according to MarketsandMarkets.
Focusing on the milk category in particular suggests that some consumers have switched from conventional to plant-based alt milk for good. Recent Mintel data revealed that one in three Britons drink plant-based milk – whether it be made from soy, oats, or almonds – a figure up from 25% in 2020.
But not all have turned their backs on conventional dairy. While plant-based dairy’s market value is impressive, it doesn’t come close to conventional dairy – a category Statista predicts to grow to $1032bn by 2024.
Is there another way brands with a plant-based interest can appeal to consumers of conventional dairy?
‘Consumers want variety and nutrition’
French company Triballat Noyal believes it has a potential solution in a new blended product that combines 50% cow’s milk and 50% plant-based ingredients.
Triballat is invested in both dairy and dairy-free sectors, with key brands in its portfolio including soy-based Sojasun and Sojade, and dairy-focused Vrai and Petit Billy. The company boasts at least another 11 dairy brands, ranging from fresh milk to cheese, in its stable.
The new products, available in oat, almond or hazelnut SKUs, will be sold under a new Triballat brand: Pâquerette & Compagnie.
Today’s consumer wants new variety, great taste, and healthy nutrition, noted the company. “This is why the team at Triballat Noyal came up with the idea of mixing dairy and plant-based ingredients for the first time.”
According to Triballat, the brand is bringing something ‘refreshingly different’ to the French market, with ‘high quality ingredients’ and the ‘greatest respect for animal welfare and local farmers’.
Indeed, all cow’s milk is collected from the French region of Brittany. “We support our French farmers and try to offer a product more respectful of the environment,” Noëmie Buffet, Product & Category Manager at Triballat, told FoodNavigator, “and it’s tasty!”
Buffet continued: “Being experts in both dairy and plant-based products, this new 50/50 mix offers our consumers a great tasting yet healthy drink.”
Triballat’s innovation is not the first time brands have sought to blend animal- and plant-based for greater appeal.
The most common ‘hybrid’ products on supermarket shelves contain a blend of conventional meat and plant-based ingredients that target meat eaters and flexitarian audiences.
The new Pâquerette & Compagnie brand is also targeting the mainstream: “[We’re targeting] consumers who drink cow’s milk,” Buffet told this publication.
Concerning taste, the product should also appeal to the cow’s milk drinking market. It tastes more like a cow’s milk product than a plant-based product, we were told, although there is a ‘little taste of plant-based product’. “It’s like a flavoured milk, but [made] naturally with a plant-based drink.”
In terms of functionality, the two ingredient mix ‘very well together’. Consumers ‘just have to shake the product’ before using it – which is often recommended on-pack for plant-based milk alternatives.
And finally, looking at its nutritional profile, Triballat said it is ‘clean label’, provides a source of calcium and protein, and contains no flavourings or additives. There is also less sugar in the Pâquerette & Compagnie offerings than cow’s milk, due to lower lactose levels. The range has received a Nutri-Score ‘B’ ranking.
The Pâquerette & Compagnie range is currently available in France, but Buffet said the company is looking forward to expanding beyond the local market.