New dairy alternative options are emerging that reach far beyond the now-traditional almond and coconut. Consumer interest in alternatives to dairy isn't slowing down, and over the last few months, Signals Analytics has seen increased industry activity around banana products. No fewer than seven major product events have taken place in connection with banana products in the past two years.
Business events for ‘banana’ in dairy alternative ecosystem over the last two years (US Data, April 2017 – April 2019)
Major Brands Turn To Bananas
Major established brands in the dairy alternatives sector have ramped up their product reach for bananas. Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze added banana milk to its portfolio earlier this year as one of its new almond milk flavors.
This adoption by the big players shows that banana milk is already seen as an actionable item. Consumer demand is sufficiently established that they are willing to risk entering the space.
Boutique Brands Take Up the Challenge
The major players aren’t the only ones to see the opportunity of banana products. Niche brands are entering the space, but they are taking banana milk a step further. As well as pairing banana flavor with an existing, traditional non-dairy base, niche brands feature banana as the primary ingredient.
Mooala is a newer, non-dairy brand that emerged in 2016. One of its focal product lines is banana milk. Mooala offers banana milk in a range of different flavors, treating banana less like a flavor and more like a neutral milk base.
New company Banana Wave is positioning itself along similar lines. The name of the company even emphasizes the importance of bananas in the product line, suggesting a heightened level of industry awareness and adoption of banana.
Bananas Remain An Unmet Need
Despite this flurry of banana-related activity, banana still sits relatively low in market saturation and high in consumer interest. Bananas feature in consumer discussion at a rate of around 13%, but represent only 1% of the current market offering. It’s a strong indication that banana is now prime white space in the dairy alternative ecosystem.
Consumer discussion for ‘banana’ in dairy alternative ecosystem over the last two years (US Data, April 2017 – April 2019)
Another indicator of banana’s likely elevating market reach is its dominant presence in other food and beverage categories, such as infant nutrition.
Ingredients in the infant nutrition ecosystem, comparing products in market vs. consumer discussions (US Data, April 2017 – April 2019)
When Banana Intersects With Other Emerging Opportunities
Banana milk also enables other brands to act upon growing opportunities in the non-dairy ecosystem. Consumer discussion about prebiotics has increased by +27% over the last two years. This intersects neatly with banana, since they are rich in resistant starch and fiber.
Consumer discussion for ‘prebiotic’ in dairy alternative ecosystem over the last two years (US Data, April 2017 – April 2019)
Banana milk also combines with consumer interest in environmentally friendly products. Environmentally friendly has grown at +50% in consumer discussion over the last 2 years. Compared with other non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk, bananas use far less water, making them a more environmentally friendly option for eco-conscious non-dairy product consumers.
Consumer discussion for ‘environmentally-friendly’ in dairy alternative ecosystem over the last two years (US Data, April 2017 - April 2019)
Written by Courtney Olsen
CPG/F&B Business Consultant at Signals Analytics
Courtney has an extensive background in market analysis and advertising. At Signals Analytics, she works across various industries, including Infant Nutrition, Skin Care and Cosmetics.
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